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The Year In Review: 2019

By School of Motion

Motion Graphics Greats Joey Korenman, EJ Hassenfratz and Ryan Summers on the Highlights of 2019 and What to Expect in 2020


It was a heck of a year for the MoGraph industry, and for School of Motion.
Our 2019 Motion Design Industry Survey revealed greater participation, enthusiasm, opportunity and income than ever before; and our business, course curriculum, core team, enrollment and online reach and engagement grew at exceptional rates.
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On the 2019 End of Year episode of the SOM Podcast, our founder, CEO and Podcast host Joey Korenman is joined by EJ Hassenfratz, our 3D Creative Director, and Ryan Summers, our 2D Creative Director, to talk about the artists, studios, tools, trends and events that made MoGraph news in 2019 — plus all the exciting plans (and bold predictions) for the coming year.
This one's long, but it's worth it.

The School of Motion Podcast: The 2019 Year In Review

Show Notes from The 2019 Year In Review on the School of Motion Podcast

ARTISTS
STUDIOS
PIECES
RESOURCES

The Transcript from The 2019 Year In Review on the School of Motion Podcast

"Yeah, exactly, and that's what most companies are not realizing that they need to become content companies. Right? Like, I know that's kind of in the air, and that's like a RevThink podcast kind of philosophy, but it's very true. Right? If you're like, I just did this giant job for Canada Goose, if you're one of eight companies making essentially very similar products, if only one of those companies is making content and they're hiring influencers and they're doing vlogs and they're doing storytelling and they're creating mini movies and they're doing it in house for their actual employees, that company is going to be at a huge competitive advantage until everybody else also has the same team doing that. That's a wave of jobs that are coming because the companies haven't even learned that lesson yet." – Ryan Summers
Joey Korenman: This is the School of Motion podcast. Come for the Mograph, stay for the puns. 2019 draws to a close and here we are, in time-honored tradition, to talk about the artists, studios, tools, industry trends and events that made the Mograph news this year. To help me out, we've got my trusty sidekick Ryan Summers, and our very own EJ Hassenfratz joins us this year to help round out the 3D side of things.
Now, this episode is long. You may want to take sips. Listen to it at one and a half speed over two to three days. But we really did our homework and tried to touch upon the biggest stories of the year. Some trends we've noticed, some artists and studios that have continued to kick ass, and some that have risen up above the noise to gain notoriety.
We make bold predictions about 2020 and we take a close look at the state of motion design as it exists now at the end of 2019. So buckle up. Here we go.
All right guys. I would love to do some nice intro for both of you, but unfortunately we have eight pages of notes to get through, so I think we should just jump right in. But Ryan, EJ, it's a pleasure to have you here and thank you for doing this once again.
Ryan Summers: Awesome.
Joey Korenman: That's great.
EJ Hassenfratz: Let's do it.
Joey Korenman: Let's do it. All right, so I'm going to kick it off I have in years past, where I just want to do a very brief recap of what has been going on at School Motion. And for everyone listening, there is an end of year blog post that I do every year, where I go into a lot of detail and I talk about what was happening behind the scenes, what we're working on for next year and you can check that out on the site.
But briefly, we did a shitload this year. So, one thing that I know a lot of listeners probably saw was, we released a manifesto video and it was this bucket list thing. We got to work with Jorge and Ordinary Folk and the dream team of freelancers they assembled, and put together a manifesto which is based off of the new branding that we had created. Chris Do and his team at Blind helped us with that.
There's a lot of things happening next year. We have a new website that's in production, but we also released three very big classes this year. We released Illustration for Motion taught by Sarah Beth Morgan. That class has been an absolute runaway success any way you look at it. VFX for Motion and Expression Session have both just launched.
Those three classes are by far the most ambitious we've ever done. The production value's been raised. The instructors are amazing. We got amazing designers to do all the artwork for it. I'm really, really proud of those.
But honestly, I think the biggest thing we did this year, was we grew a weed. We started the year with six full-time team members and we are ending the year with 16. I did not intend for that to happen. That was not the plan. It just sort of happened naturally, and two of those team members happen to be on this podcast.
So, I will start by reiterating how excited I am, EJ, to be able to do a lot of damage with you next year. It's going to be a lot of fun in 2020 to work on the 3D curriculum. And everyone listening, I've been talking with EJ about it and he's got this awesome vision for what the 3D curriculum at School of Motion can look like. There's already classes in pre-production. A lot of exciting things there.
And then, we have an announcement to make, I guess, Ryan. Yeah, I guess we should quit beating around the bush here. Ryan Summers, he is actually going to be coming on full-time at School of Motion in January, ladies and gentlemen, as creative director-
EJ Hassenfratz: Amazing.
Joey Korenman: ... in charge of the 2D curriculum. It's really actually strange for me to say that, because both of you I have been aware of in the industry long before I knew either of you. I've always had so much respect for you both and you're both brilliant and passionate about this. I can't tell you how excited I am about next year.
I think with the team that we've assembled now, and there's 16 of us, it's an actual... you could do some serious pickup games with that many people. You could have a serious game of Red Rover. We're going to be able to do a lot next year. We did a lot this year, but next year I think it's going to be more of the same.
Oh, and then, one last thing. Next year, we will hit episode 100 of the podcast, and so, we need to figure out who the guest is going to be and there's a guy named Andy Claymore I have my eyes on I want to see.
EJ Hassenfratz: Nice.
Ryan Summers: What's he responsible for? What's that guy doing?
EJ Hassenfratz: Never heard of him.
Joey Korenman: Video pilot.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: All right, so that's enough about School of Motion. Let's start with... And actually, Ryan, I think you pitched this topic, which was really pretty interesting and it was fun to think about and you pointed out, it's funny, I didn't even think about this until you pointed it out, that we are ending a decade. So, next year there'll be an extra two in the year.
And you asked this question, where were you 10 years ago and where do you think you'll be in the next 10? And it was really fascinating for me to think about that. So Ryan, why don't you kick that off? Tell us where were you 10 years ago? Where do you think you'll be in 10 years?
Ryan Summers: Oh man. I was about as far away from the motion design industry as you could get. I had just quit. I worked at a gaming studio that made casino games and I was spending two weeks a month every month for seven years in Vegas.
And I had just quit and I walked over to the Chicago Board of Trade in Chicago and I was working under a marble staircase editing videos from the Board of Trade, doing motion graphics and editing. And I quit because I'd done everything I could in the gaming side and I wanted to start shooting and editing and that was the quickest transition I could make, short of actually having to go back to school. So yeah, I was actually shocked to go back and look. In 2009, I had just made that switch.
Joey Korenman: That's insane. So, 10 years ago, all the things that you've done, working on the Pacific Rim titles, working with IF and all the great studios in LA you worked with being a creative director, none of that was even a twinkle in your eye at that point.
Ryan Summers: I knew I had a list of companies I always wanted to work for and it was Imaginary Forces, Blur, and Disney and those were a pipe dream. I don't even know how to even get to LA, let alone break into those places. So, I just knew I needed to do something different than what I had been doing and I had no idea how to get where I wanted. And this was the first weird step to get there.
Joey Korenman: Nice. And EJ, your life was exactly the same 10 years ago, right?
EJ Hassenfratz: Oh yeah. The same. More hair though. But yeah, where I was, I saw that you posted your real link in there and I'm like, "I'm going to go dig and look at my reel." This one's from 2009 and I see a lot of shiny spheres in here. So, this is prime, shiny sphere, GrayscaleGorilla-land. I see a lot of that in my reel right now.
I think this was where I was really starting to ramp up in 3D but I was working at a local news station. It was the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. Animated a lot of ABC logos and you can see that in my reel as well. But yeah, man, just this reel. Good Lord. I'm glad I'm better than this.
Joey Korenman: It's crazy to look that far back and I found my reel from 2019 which is still on Vimeo and we will post it in the show notes for this episode if anyone is curious. And it's really cringy because this was right before I started Toil. So, I was still just freelancing, but I was thinking about the next step and I had rebranded myself with this terrible name. I don't even want to say it. It was Anti Plain because you don't just want plain motion graphics.
EJ Hassenfratz: I thought I designed [crosstalk 00:07:51].
Ryan Summers: That's awesome. Oh my God.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. Equally hard to spell it. So, yeah. But it's crazy. So, there's this quote. It's the internet, so I don't know if this is really from Bill Gates, but it's attributed to him and it's, "Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and they underestimate what they can do in 10 years.", and that rings so true right now because 10 years ago I was freelancing in Boston.
I think I was working on a rebrand for the Speed Network, which I think is still around, but it was basically the NASCAR channel and I was doing that. I didn't have any children yet. I think I had just gotten married and I was thinking of starting Toil. And 10 years later here we are. It makes no sense. There's literally no way I could have guessed that this is where I'd be in 10 years.
So, the second part of your question, Ryan, where do you think you'll be in the next 10? I kind of, on principle, don't even want to attempt to answer it. I hope I'll be here doing this with both of you but I might be an astronaut by then because that is how different my life is now than it was 10 years ago.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. I don't even know. Think about that, man. We'll all be using After Effects CC 2030. Is that right?
Joey Korenman: Will we though?
EJ Hassenfratz: I don't know.
Ryan Summers: Well yeah, maybe. But what would that even look like? Is it all real time? Is it all...? I can't even imagine. The leap that our tools came in 10 years, let alone with VR and AR and everything else, what are we going to even be consuming stuff on, right? 10 years is going to radically change.
Joey Korenman: Totally. Totally. And you had another note in here about how much the industry has changed in just 10 years. And I think there's no amount of hyperbole that could be used to explain how different things are now than they were 10 years. Never mind, 15 years ago, 20 years ago, when the industry really sort of got started.
Yeah. It was fun to reminisce about that. And, we'll link to all of that. We'll link to EJ's reel and my reel in the show notes. And Ryan, if you happen to find any of your early slot machine work.
Ryan Summers: Oh man, you should see. This reel is the most... I just posted it in. It is the most schizophrenic reel I've looked at in a long time. I don't know what I was thinking.
Joey Korenman: Funny story, before we get... Because Ryan just said about he was working on the gaming stuff and I think it took me about five years after I actually met Ryan in person. I was like, "You were in a thing called Pixel Corps."
Ryan Summers: Pixel Corps. Were you too? I didn't... Oh, that's right.
Joey Korenman: We were on the same team working on something and my uncle was in it too-
Ryan Summers: Oh my God. Yeah.
Joey Korenman: And I was like, "Wait a minute. Now this makes sense." Yeah. It was crazy. And that was, oh my goodness. That was probably 2006.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. And do who else came out of Pixel Corps? The guy who started Frame.io. The guy who started Frame.io is the CEO.
Joey Korenman: Emery?
Ryan Summers: Had idea guy. Emery came from Pixel Corps.
Joey Korenman: Oh, I didn't know that. That is really funny.
EJ Hassenfratz: There's a whole team.
Ryan Summers: There's a whole crew. Yeah, there's a whole crew of people that came up out of that from nothing.
Joey Korenman: Speaking of having a big year. Frame.io had a huge year. They just closed another round of funding. They're...
EJ Hassenfratz: The iPad app just launched.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. Awesome. All right. So, the first topic that we're going to cover here, and it takes I think two and a half pages. It's a lot. Studios/artists/reels that we loved in 2019 and, just so it's said and it's out there, this is far from an exhaustive list. This is just the ones that stood out to us and, who are we to be the arbiters of good taste, and all of that?
However, there's a lot of awesome work out there and this is what we noticed. All right. So, why don't we, why don't we just start by talking about Ordinary Folk. Yeah. Ryan, do you have any thoughts on those guys?
Ryan Summers: Yeah. That, that disturbance in the force you felt earlier this year was Ordinary Folk's demo reel landing on the internet and set everything afire. I think it's amazing that there's this studio that, even if you go back, and I forget the name of the piece, but you go back and there was an amazing little thing that Jorge did that was literally just a circle and a square, and it's almost the thesis statement for Ordinary Folk seven or eight years ago.
Because you can take the through line from that piece and see all of his work, and then, you see the launch that Ordinary Folk did along with, I think there was the Webflow piece and the No Code piece. And it's almost watching, we talked about him earlier in the pre-show, but it's almost like watching Memento from Christopher Nolan, and then, eight, 10, 12, 15 years later, you see Interstellar and Inception.
And you can literally see where those ideas, and that skill set, and I talk about voice and vision until people get sick of hearing it, but if you look at that piece, and then, you look at Ordinary Folk's launch, you can see that connective fiber all the way of somebody having an idea, working on it, banging out projects with it, doing some personal pieces, doing some commercial pieces. And then, boom, here's the reel. And it's such a cool thing to see this through line for the industry from this one person.
Joey Korenman: That was a pause waiting for EJ to chime in if you wanted to.
EJ Hassenfratz: I'm looking at the reel, and I think no words say a big story. I absolutely love the manifesto video that they did. I'm a big 3D nerd so I appreciate all the 2D work they did, but then, when you see them breakdown, "Oh, that was 2D but they completely did that in 3D." Just their wizardry in any application, just animation-wise is incredible. It makes me feel bad about myself because I've been using 3D for a very long time and you have someone like Jorge just busting in and making the most beautiful stuff in it.
He probably just started learning Cinema 4D a year or so ago and they're just killing it. And I'm seeing that throughout, more and more, where you have all these very great traditionally trained designers and animators and they're seeing 3D be that next step and they're just killing it in it, and they're doing way better work right from the get go than I am right now. And it's just really inspiring to see all this stuff that's being done with these mixed media deal going on.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. I think the guy who really broke on the scene for me with Ordinary Folk was Greg Stewart. I think he had a breakout year this year and maybe we can link to it. He had a tweet where he showed exactly what EJ is talking about, where he talked about the hardest shot he worked on for one of their pieces and it blew people's minds that he was doing cinema that looked like After Effects, that was being blended back in with shape layer work.
And it's what I've always been wanting to see, is that I feel been three stages of growth and we hadn't really fully gotten to stage three, but stage one was motion design had access to the tools. Stage two, people were just obsessing with the technology and really playing around with what each individual thing could do. And then, stage three motion design is where we're starting to get now where artists, like you said, and designers, the tools, there's almost no barrier between them now.
And we're finally not, you're not a 2D person or a 3D person or a cell person, but you're a motion designer. And I feel like Greg is a great example of that kind of artistry now.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. From what I can tell, and I know Greg, he's been a TA for School of Motion. He's been in our mix for a long time and I got to hang out with him at Blend this year. The whole philosophy of Ordinary Folk and just watching the way Jorge works is, it doesn't matter how you get the thing to look the way it looks.
And they are really clever with how they use expressions and clever visual hacks, and when you see how they did it, you're like, "Oh my God, that's genius. I never would have thought to do it that way." Yeah. And then, one more thing we should mention about Ordinary Folk is they pretty recently opened up this section of their website called play, where they're giving away all of these project files, and rigs, and things they've built for free just because they're wonderful people that want to give back.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. There's a reason why they're the first company we're talking about, right? They're the epitome. They put design and animation into branding, and then, they give back to the industry to let other people level up. That's almost the perfect definition of motion design.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. They're in the community in a way that a lot of other studios aren't. They're just outside of it and their artists are in the community, but the studio itself is separate.
All right, let's move on to, I'm going to lump these two together, even though they're very far apart physically, but both of them had been on my radar, but I just hadn't really looked very deeply into their work. And then, we booked them to work on the intro animation for Expression Session and I was so floored by how cool it came out that I went, I looked at their work, and they're both just incredible.
So, Yaniv Fridman. He's based in Mexico City and Daniel Luna Ferrera, He's based in Toronto. They're just ridiculously good designers. And what I really love about both of them is that they can do the design that has been really, really, really popular for the past eight years, let's say. The illustrative-looking, bright colors and flat shapes, and stuff that.
They're really good at that, but they're also really, really, really, really good at the more graphic design-looking stuff that was really popular when I got into the industry and seems to be, in my opinion, making a little bit of a comeback now. That Eyeball look, that kind of stuff. So, we're going to link to everybody that we're talking about here in the show notes, but definitely check them out if you haven't. Ryan, are you familiar with them?
Ryan Summers: Oh yeah. Yeah. Yaniv's reel is amazing. I think it's that perfect mix of the influence of design. There's a little bit of the influence of UI, UX sneaking into it, in terms of the way things move and the way things have a super-sleek timing. But at the same time, and I'm sure we'll talk about this when we start getting into trends, I feel like if you want to see the way type is moving forward in motion design, his reel is a great example of the things you can do with clean, simple design, but then, also motion that sometimes is twitchy, sometimes it's smooth in the same piece.
It's full of some really great work and it's not all flat. Sometimes it's got this, and we're going to talk about Chromosphere a little bit and there are a little bit more animation, character animation-centric, but he has this really great, a couple spots, where it's this really great almost photographic motion design with shape layers where it's not flat, it's not photorealistic, but there's just all these great little touches with blurs and gradients and chromatic aberration.
It almost looks like you took the stuff out of After Effects, put it up on a screen and printed it out, and then, photographed it.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Ryan Summers: That reel is really tight. I normally love to see reels that are less than a minute and I think his is a minute and a half, but it feels like 30 seconds. It goes so quick. It's really solid work.
Joey Korenman: Totally. So EJ, I think, didn't you put these next two on there, Jess and Ricard?
EJ Hassenfratz: Yes. I did.
Joey Korenman: Oh.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. So, do you guys know about either of these lovely people?
Ryan Summers: Oh yeah. I met Jess at Camp Mograph.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, I think it goes to show how big you can jump onto the scene by just being a great person and being just super-talented and keeping your head down and just doing the work.
Jess, I met last year, last November, at Node Fest, was honored to be presenting there and met her and she and her one friend, they collabed on the Node title, so if no one knows what I'm talking about right now, but Node Fest is this big festival in Australia, Melbourne, and each year they have submissions to do the Node title.
So, all these different studios, freelancers, whatever, they have a theme and, as long as they stick to the theme, they can make a little Node identity deal. And Jess submitted one and just blew everyone away and I'll actually put the link in there for the animation they did.
But it was this beautiful mix of all these different styles. 2D, 3D, illustration and it was just gorgeous. And they won it. They won a copy of Cinema 4D. Now, she was a 3D Max user, as I like to say, a recovering 3D Max user, but she got onto Cinema 4D because she was working at a studio and when you were living that intern life, you can't really afford the things to make the arts.
Joey Korenman: Right.
EJ Hassenfratz: So, she got that free copy and that, I think, really catapulted her career because, man, when you get plugged into the C4D community, you're set. So, I got introduced to her, recommended her to present at NAB or SIGGRAPH, I think it was, talking with Matthias, who's the head honcho as far as community goes at Maxon, and she presented and, man, does she have a lot of fans.
And she's just a wonderful human being as well. Just super-talented. And she's been interning at Animade as, as well as Ricard. I think Ricard just actually went freelance now. So, he was also interning at Animade. But it just goes to show, as long as you're doing the great work, you can put yourself out there, take some chances. You could go from being completely unknown to being a total rock star and they're going to be working at Buck now, over the span of a year.
Ryan Summers: Totally.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. That talk at SIGGRAPH, thanks for getting her in there because I've been dying for someone on a big stage to explain that C4D is totally capable of CG character animation and her talk, it's 49 minutes and it's a great primer on taking illustrated styles, how to model them, thinking about typology, how to get them up and running for rigging and base starting animation.
And I always hear people talk about how C4D is no good for character work and I've done a fair amount of it. And it's funny that you said she came from 3D Studio Max because even in her setups, the way she starts setting up her illustrations in a cube to start modeling, it's amazing that somebody who's only been using the program for a little while is the person who has broken the door open for people to understand what's possible with character work. That's awesome.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I think when you get these outside influences that come from different parts of the world and also represent a whole different... She's representing women in 3D and I think she's really killing it. And I think once you see that someone that looks you, or talks you, or is doing something that you wanted to do but you're like, "Eh, but there's really no one doing this." Or, "I'm using 3D Studio Max, so Cinema 4D is really not for me."
I think once you see someone break that barrier and really inspire you to do that same thing and that's not hard. She did it. I can do that. I'm really excited to see all the people, I know Jess is really inspiring a lot of people to also get into 3D, and also get into character stuff because I think that's something that prohibited me from getting into character stuff, is just because I always assumed it was super, super hard, but it's really not. It could be. It could be if you want it to be, but to break in, it's really not that bad.
And Ricard did a really amazing animation about bees and we'll link to that as well. I'll get that link in there. It's just really fun and whimsical. You know anime, I love anime. They did the intro animation for my Cinema 4D bootcamp, or base camp, class and they just have this really cool, just sense of humor and just whimsical fun nature to their animation.
It's just all about the life of a bee. You have a bee throwing up honey into a little bucket and stuff like that. It's just so much fun and that got just totally viral in the animation community.
I think Animade has done a great job of choosing these talents Jess and Ricard and letting them do their thing. And I think most of the work that I've seen on Animade's channel has been from both of those folks, and I think they're really just killing it.
I'm really excited to see where Ricard goes and where Jess goes in their careers because they're so young. They're so stinking young.
Joey Korenman: I can't imagine being... I'm not as good as either of them now-
EJ Hassenfratz: Right.
Joey Korenman: ... and I can't imagine being that good and not 38-
EJ Hassenfratz: Exactly, yes.
Joey Korenman: That's pretty awesome.
Ryan Summers: I'll add one person to that list too at Animade, Lana Simanenkova-
Joey Korenman: Oh, yes.
Ryan Summers: ... is another amazing animator who, I don't know if it was her first directing gig or not, I apologize if she's done more, but Animade does this great series of self-motivated studio work all the time. And she directed this really cool, really nicely stylized short called Lunch Break and she's right in there with them. I love her work. She has a really different style.
As we'll probably talk more about cell animation and 2D animation starting to become more and more prevalent, but we said last year there's a house style. Lana's work feels totally different. In the same way, someone Alan Laseter's work is totally different. I wanted to make sure we called her out too as that group. Animade has so much good talent in those walls.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, they're doing pretty good. I love Animade. I love that. All right. So, these next two, unfortunately I think I'm just going to gloss over them because it's obvious that they're good and we've talked about them before, but Gunner, okay. Everyone likes Gunner. We know. Everyone loves Gunner. Yeah. Gunner had another awesome year. And we're going to talk about some of the individual pieces that we loved.
Of course they did the Blend titles. We could talk a little bit more about that later, but just so it's out there. Gunner, we still love you. You guys are amazing. Very inspiring. I think my favorite thing about Gunner is actually the fact that they are in Detroit. They are not in New York, they're not in LA, and they are kicking ass in making it work.
And then, right after that I wanted to call out Handel Eugene and he's amazing and his work is amazing. But I think this year what really stood out to me after getting to spend some time talking to him and seeing him give, I think, the most energetic, explosive talk of Blend. That guy just has it, He's just a ball of energy and he's hilarious, and you want to talk about people inspiring the next generation of artists. That's the guy right there. So, watch out for him.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. I sat next to Handel for about a year at Royal and he's such a quiet, unassuming guy, but he's so, I'm trying to find the right word to say, studious isn't isn't the right word. His process is so thorough and he documents so much stuff and he's very experimental. He's always trying new things.
I've heard people talking about it. It's crazy how at Blend, almost every year, everyone's speeches are great, but there's almost always one or two people that just elevate out of all of that great stuff. And I feel like it was unanimous that Handel was there, but I feel like Handel probably sat in a room looking at a mirror and did that talk 15, 20 times to get it just perfect, the same way he gets his animation perfect. I'm sure everything was super-practiced. I'm so happy to see him breaking out.
Joey Korenman: Absolutely. Yeah. And EJ, you know Handel a little bit, right?
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. We actually got a chance to go to Pixar, which was really cool. But he is such a quiet guy, but he is so amazingly talented but so extremely humble. But I think he had, I don't know, I think he had a lot of guts when he said what he did at Blend where, and I'm not going to steal his thunder or anything that, but he basically said, "Awards don't matter."
And everyone's talking about their awards, but he's never won a single award. So, I think a lot of people are always working for that shiny award to make them feel validated. And I think it was a breath of fresh air for someone as talented as him to, number one, admit he's never won an award. Number two, say that that's okay. And number three, that that's actually, why an award be the thing that's driving you in your creative pursuits? I think you're aligning your success in the wrong directions.
And I think what he was speaking towards in his speech was just so great to hear someone him say something that, because I've never won an aware as well, either. I've won some crappy local Emmy's and stuff that, but I never talk about them because I don't think that defines me. But I think for a lot of people that stuff does define them, which it was great to hear that you don't want to be in that mindset.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. Yeah. The cool thing about Handel, he may not have won an award, but anytime I was ever in a room where there were six or seven designers and a creative director and we were trying to come up with a solution to something, or an idea, people will be yelling, people be talking, people be arguing. And then, there'd be this quiet moment and then Handel would just very quietly just be like, "What about if we did...?"
And he'd say one thing in the entire hour, or two hours, and everybody would be like, "That's it. You figured it out." Right? He doesn't speak loudly, but when he does, it carries so much weight. I love that his personality and his way of working is finally being celebrated.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, he's the man. I'm just very impressed by everything he's done. The next person on this list, this brought me so much joy to put his name on there. Our boy Nol Honig.
Ryan Summers: Yes.
Joey Korenman: Yes. Man. Nol has had a year. So, first of all, everyone listening, just in case you don't know, Nol teaches our After Effects kickstart class and he also now teaches Expression Session with Zach Lovett and he just had a big year. He's been working with Golden Wolf a lot, and I think he even was the lead on a few titles for The Report, which he worked on with Pentagram, Project Blue Book.
He worked on the Sundance Film Festival trailer. And what I really love about Nol's work is that, to me, it reminds me of the stuff that got me into motion design. It's like graphic design in motion. It's that eyeball look. Eyeball, back in the day, when Adam Gault was there, and stuff that.
That stuff really influenced me a lot and it went away or flew under the radar for the past few years and it all became about these really slick fluid animations of shapes, and stuff that. And now, it's coming back. And looking at that stuff and knowing that that's the guy teaching our beginner After Effects class. He's so good and he's a great designer, he's a really good designer. It just made me so happy to put him on a list and he is slaying it.
Ryan Summers: He's awesome. And, people out there, you shouldn't sleep on that After Effects kickstart class, if you're just starting to think about getting into After Effects. I actually watched the entire thing and I did a run through and he, I think it's a combined five or six hours, but he does a complete straight run through of basically sitting down, getting an assignment, and at the end of these two, three hour pieces, the assignments right there.
And it's so thorough and it's so cool to see how his mind works in just one focused session. And I'm sure Expression Session is the same thing, but I feel like Nol is in the same class as someone we talked about last year, Ariel Costa, somebody who just has this unique style that's very heavily informed by design that he's just been finessing and breaking down and perfecting.
I'm excited to see him do more title sequences because I think as he becomes even more and more confident and people start gravitating towards his style, it's going to explode even more. He's going to start pushing it even more so.
EJ Hassenfratz: Oh yeah.
Joey Korenman: All right. Next on the list. So, I put her on there because, this next artist, so this is someone that hasn't been featured yet on sites Motionographer, and stuff that. Well, I put her on the list because I've had the privilege of watching her career from very, very early to where it is now. And she's young. Her career is still in its infancy, but Abbie Bacilla is one of our alumni.
And she got a job at Frame.io from a post on our alumni group a few years ago.
Ryan Summers: Oh wow.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. Emery reached out to me and he asked if we had any alumni that might be a good fit. And Abbie sent her reel and I thought it was good. And, at the time, I think she was living in Alabama. She moved to New York City, works at Frame.io now. She's been there I think two years, maybe. And she just posted this video she did that announced-
Joey Korenman: And she just posted this video, she did. That announced their new iPad app and she posted it in our alumni, group and was so proud because she had just taken EJ's Cinema 4D Basecamp class and had all this 3D in there now, which now she can do. She's taken, probably four of our classes and she's turning into a heavy hitter.
I can see it happening in real time and it is so awesome to see stuff like that happening. When I was in the industry, you never got to see that. You would just see work come out from someone when they were ready and they hit Motionographer and then you'd know they existed.
Now it's a lot easier, like you were mentioning with ordinary folk, to see the arc and with Abby I've been able to see the arc and it's so impressive how fast she's improved. So congratulations Abby for all your success. And I know 2020 is going to be a big year for her too.
EJ Hassenfratz: I'm just looking at her a little shot she did for the manifesto video and when you're going through your class and you see all the students posting the assignments and stuff like that, you always see those artists that are, she's got something here, this one's got something here.
She was definitely one of the students in the class that was just always really pushing everyone else, and was very active in the course and on the Facebook groups. And it's just really great to see where she is. She's a great illustrator, she's a great designer, she's great with color. It just goes to show like when you have those skills, the transition to learning 3D is so easy.
Because once you get past that technical part, it's so easy to create beautiful things. Because you already know how to create beautiful things, but you just need to learn that new tool, to also allow yourself to do that same thing in that different app in 3D space. And her character stuff is great too.
Joey Korenman: That reminds me EJ, there was a session, I can't remember when it was, and I don't even know if she used her real name. B. Grant and Eddie took your class and she didn't do all the homework and stuff. But she did that first assignment where you're supposed to build a place that you love just out of primitives, with a few colors.
And it was so funny because she'd never used Cinema 4D ever. And just from that first lesson she built this still, that was so beautiful and so amazing. And, she didn't know cinema 4D very well at that point. It was just cubes, and spheres, and cylinders, and stuff. But she has that eye. She knows how to make pretty frames and so it doesn't matter that she doesn't have the technical skills. Those are the easier things to learn.
EJ Hassenfratz: I saw that and I'm just like, okay I'm retiring. I'm going to go be an Uber driver because oh my God...
Joey Korenman: Because B. Grant and Eddie exist.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yes.
Joey Korenman: Awesome. All right. Next up. So this is someone that I've gotten to meet a couple of times this year. She's insanely talented. She's actually working on a T-shirt design for us right now by the way. And her name is Sofie Lee and she is a designer and she also animates, but I think she's primarily designing for Oddfellows.
And we'll link to her portfolio. Her senior thesis project, I think when she went to SCAD was absurd. So even as a student she was already off the charts and now just to see her develop her style and work with the really high caliber talent at Oddfellows. I think she's going to be one that in 10 years is going to be giving keynotes and stuff like that.
Ryan Summers: Yep. Absolutely. You look at her stuff and it makes sense that she's at Oddfellows. But I'm starting to feel all the studios that are the ones we name-check now, it's starting to feel there's a class of studios that's similar to back 10 years ago. When I was talking about starting to get in, that there was like the imaginary forces or the digital kitchens.
They did great work, but they also became incubators for talent. Someone young wanted to go there because they just want to mix it up with all the people that were there. No one knows their names, but all the artists that are just there, have been there for five, 10 years. I feel we're starting to see that the Gunners, the Oddfellows, I'm sure ordinary folk will have this, where there's people who in the next five to 10 years after that, they're going to have their own shops.
Because you look at Sofie's work, if you end up going to her page, there's a piece called Dream and when you look at it, you could build an entire studio the same way, Jorge has a studio and a house style. Her stuff is so unique and so detailed in it. It's next level shape layer stuff, but there's just amazing work. Her design works really cool.
Even just her color choices feel like they're a specific person. They're not chasing a trend or chasing what somebody else does and I think she's a great example of somebody who, you go to the place that will make you better because of the people around there and then what happens after that, it's like a rocket ship once you get there.
Joey Korenman: Totally. All right. I have two more that I think I put on the list and then we can begin Ryan's list, which was longer than mine. So these are last minute additions. Because I went back and I thought, a lot of the names we've been talking about, even Sofie, she's at Oddfellows and so her name and Oddfellows, it pops up all the time.
But there's a couple of other studios that I've been fans of and watching. And they're not in the Twitter sphere and Instagram sphere and Motionographer world the way other studios are. And so I think a lot of people don't know about them and they are fricking incredible. So one is called Kill 2 Birds and it's a really cool studio in LA and it's run by two guys.
It's really funny. I actually have worked with them before. So it's Tom Bik and Jonny Oulette started the studio and I met them when I was freelancing in Boston. They used to work for a studio called Viewpoint Creative that I would do a lot of work for. And Tom moved to LA and Jonny moved to LA. I think Jonny was in LA. I think he was actually working remotely.
And their stuff, to call back to that style that I love, it's graphic designery, it's film title looking stuff. That cinematic look, great typography, really good concepts. It's not all shapes and illustrative stuff, which I love too. But their stuff is so good. And they've also made a little niche for themselves because they do a lot of branding packages.
And I remember they have this reel up on their site somewhere, where it shows how they made a graphics package for, I forget who, it might've been Turner Classic movies or something like that. And they basically had someone build an after effects script, just for that network, that would basically build bespoke things by clicking a few buttons and it would make the comp for you. So they're also getting really creative with how they package their skills up for clients. Have either of you heard of them Kill 2 Birds?
Ryan Summers: I know the people. I remember the people, both of the guys names, Tom, Jonny, I definitely remember seeing their work when they weren't a company. But that's a thing about this, their work is up there with everyone else's stuff. But just like you said, they're under the radar. The reel is very eclectic, there's a wide range of stuff there. There's flat stuff, there's title series, there's stuff that's shot and manipulated, it's a wide range.
EJ Hassenfratz: I love their Time Warner Cable Spy, it's just very collage and just, really, really cool. Like you said, very designery type of work here.
Ryan Summers: Isn't this cool though, it's really cool to find a studio like this. This is what makes motion design so much fun, is that you can have a studio that does super photographic stuff, live action, hyper flat things. And then bits and pieces of 3D mixed into it, all under one studio like that. That's awesome.
Joey Korenman: I remember I've probably animated Tom's boards two or three times and I always remember getting boards from him or from a lot of designers like him where you look at it and it's just such a beautiful still frame. You're like, how the hell am I going to make this move without screwing it up. And it's a totally different challenge than when you get a frame that has eight dots on it and lines and a bunch of shapes and stuff, where it's a little bit more intuitive how those things can move.
The kind of stuff that they do. It's a little bit more of a brain teaser to figure it out. So we'll link to them. They literally have a link on their page called AE-Toolkits and it's really fascinating stuff.
So one more studio, and this is another person that we actually... It's funny when I was running Toil, there was this project we were doing for Bertucci's, which, if you're listening, you've never heard of it. It's a pizza chain. It's one of these regional pizza chains. And so we wanted to pitch a whole bunch of ideas to the ad agency.
And our go-to designers were booked. And so I found this guy in LA and I liked his stuff and I booked him. And, we booked him, I don't know, for two days or something, just to give us some more options, just give us some style frames. And, I think in two days he gave us something like 50 different frames. And, they were all good, and I was so blown away, and I'm like, oh my God, who the hell is this guy?
Well his name was Nate Howe and now he runs Nathaniel Howe Studios in LA. And, this is another studio doing ridiculously high level work. And you don't normally hear about them in the circles that it seems we all run in. I pay very close attention to the industry and you don't normally see their stuff come up to the top and yet they are doing really, really awesome stuff for huge brands. And it's all based around just really, really good graphic design.
There's not a lot of stuff on their reel or on their site that looks like anything ordinary folk does. It's almost like two completely different species.
Ryan Summers: On top of all that, Nate is the best dressed. I've never seen anyone else in the industry who has better suits and is always put together. And it's funny that you say that, when I've seen him and I've met him a couple of times, I feel his work, I love when someone opens a studio and it's their name, whether it's Swarovski or Nate or something like that. That's such a line in the sand and his personality comes through so much of the work.
His type, I watch so many demo reels and I go through so many, trying to help people. I still feel with all of our tools and all the training, type is still the weakest point for most people in design. His type is immaculate. It's not all the same style, it's not always the same thing. But everything is just perfectly lined up.
Nate, how long has he been open? I feel he's been around forever. And he's just down under the radar, just grinding. If you look at his play page on the website, it's just endless amounts of stuff we've all seen. If you watch TV at all, it's just constantly, Anthony Bourdain stuff. There's tons of show packages, they crank work out like crazy.
Joey Korenman: It's one of those studios that I would point to when sometimes I'll talk to students and they follow the industry through Motionographer or Twitter or School of Motion. And we tend to focus on the same two dozen studios over and over. And a lot of it is just because those are the studios that are doing a really good job of PR and marketing and all of that.
And so you hear about it. And it's funny because I haven't talked to Nate in a while. He just got interviewed for our Design Kickstart class, which comes out next year. And I've never met him in person, but I know that he's very involved in Pro Max and it's a different scene that studios like this, tend to live in.
And this is something I really want to explore more next year because the design is just so good. Even just the animation skills that it takes to do this kind of work, they're very different than, like yeah, you still need to know how the graph editor works, but you really need to know how to hack fractal noise to get this light pattern, like the designer founded photo and put it in linear ad mode. Okay, and now that needs to move somehow, figure it out. Animation monkey.
Ryan Summers: I think you just made a great point too. I was just having this conversation with a couple of guys in LA that own their own small shops. And we had this realization altogether, they're owner operators, they're designers or animators who also own their own shops. And they're lamenting the fact that they just now realize, they spend all their time with other people who make stuff.
That's how they socialize. That's where they go for industry mixers and they're trying to elevate their name and elevate their shop through that. But we all realize if you're an owner, as much as you love being on the box, you need to spend your time in other places with other kinds of people because your next gig as a freelancer, most time comes from other people that are working.
But your next job as a shop owner very rarely comes from somebody else sitting next to you doing after effects. And I feel Nate is a great example of someone who, he spends his time in that Pro Max world dealing with agencies, dealing with brands and I could be wrong, I don't want to speak for him, but I don't think he cares if he's on Motionographer or if we talk about them in this show. He's spending his time as a designer animator, being the owner, working in that whole other world that a lot of people are afraid of, but are starting to approach as more people start freelancing, starting up small shops. I think he'd be a great interview.
Joey Korenman: Totally.
Ryan Summers: But like you said, I'd love to hear his approach on running a shop and balancing his desire to do design with bringing in new work.
Joey Korenman: I think we need to make that happen. EJ have you ever heard of those two studios? Nathaniel Howe, Kill 2 Birds or are these new to you?
EJ Hassenfratz: They are new to me. But I'm filling up my Instagram following list.
Joey Korenman: There you go. [crosstalk 00:13:58]. Both shops use 3D really well and in a way it's almost more traditional, what you think of 3D. I'm looking at Nate Howe's Instagram right now, and they worked on The All-Star Game. And they do a lot of sports branding actually, which is its own thing and it takes a different mindset. And anyway, I love both of those studios. I could go on for a long time about them.
And gentlemen, I'd like to say congratulations because we have just gone through one page.
EJ Hassenfratz: All right. [crosstalk 00:14:39].
Ryan Summers: We close to an hour.
Joey Korenman: All right, so next person on the list, and Ryan, I think you curated this list. I'll let you comment on these. But you put Markus Magnusson on there. And I remember, I think, we mentioned him last year because last year was when his Patreon really caught on, which was such a cool thing to see. A motion designer be able to build presence that way. So why did you put them on the list this year?
Ryan Summers: Well, so he started that. But the thing that really stuck out to me, besides the fact that I love his character animation style.
Joey Korenman: It's great.
Ryan Summers: Again, it's totally different from the house style that we have seen a lot from people learning 2D. But it's so specifically him, a deadline weight, really cool use of facial expressions. It's not just basic shapes. And then the fact that he's teaching that. But I went to his Patreon, just to refresh myself and he's refined his Patreon. It sounds like he's figured out what works for him. He has three different levels. But the thing that really got me, I just kept on scrolling down and Patreon you can turn this on or off, you don't have to tell people how many patrons you actually have.
But just think about this for a while, Markus maybe two years ago wasn't on many people's radar. He has 1,678 Patreons.
EJ Hassenfratz: That's amazing.
Ryan Summers: Right. And if you look at his levels, actually I was misspoken, he has three levels. He has buddies, best friends and family starting at $2 going up to $10. If you just do the basic level math and just what are 1,678 x 2, he's probably paying for his rent and a lot of his expenses just off of Patreon. I have no idea if Markus freelances or if he gets a deal for his class or anything. But just off of that...
EJ Hassenfratz: He's just the classic example of build a fan base of a thousand people. Put out one thing every year or so, or every so often. And you will easily get a nice little salary just from building up that audience. And he's teaching a masterclass in that little example.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, the thousand true fans. It's exactly what he did. Awesome. And next up, you put another one of my favorites on there, Ryan, Rachel Reed.
Ryan Summers: We all know 2D animation is starting to take over, but I feel Gunner's done so much great work. And again, those self-motivated studio pieces, they help studios, but I also feel help again elevate people that participate in that at a high level, just to this next level of awareness. And I feel Rachel, I've seen two or three things that she's done.
And 2D animation in motion design was considered one thing. So much so, that I think a year or two ago Cartoon Brew, which is the industry side of record for animation, had a whole issue talking about motion design. I think it was based around when JR Canest played around with the 12 principles of animation and reworked them for motion design.
And there was this whole thing that character animation over here for film and TV, is separate than what motion designers do for animation. And I feel someone like Rachel is a great example of that. That line is completely fake, that line can be completely blown away. His and her animation doesn't feel like standard motion design. It doesn't feel what a Disney animator would do. But it sits somewhere in this nice comfortable space in between.
I love her work. I'm super excited to see what she does going forward. And I think she's a great example for everyone in the industry with what's possible.
Joey Korenman: Totally. I think her being at Gunner is the perfect spot because they're so good at finding weird references. And they work with illustrators that have really unique styles and then they figure out how to animate it and all that kind of stuff.
And since you mentioned Rachel over there, I also wanted to call out Collin Leix who did this. So what we're going to talk about, the Blend, title sequence, but I guess figured out some crazy workflow where she painted in VR. And just the fact that a studio the Gunner's size, which I don't know their head count right now, I'm guessing it's maybe 10, a dozen, 15 something like that. It's not huge.
And they're still doing weird cutting edge stuff and using it in... It's just so cool. And I think Rachel's the right person in the right place at the right time, and really has just blossomed being there.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, I think Collin is... I think up until we saw her speak at Blend, I think everyone's just been like, VR, we see, Tilt brush stuff. But like in an actual workflow, you're not really using that. And I think her breakdown was the first time that it clicked, oh my god. You can actually bring in a Cinema 4D scene, export it out very easily and bring it into VR and then actually paint and sculpt on two surfaces on two 3D surfaces. They're all stick.
And it was amazing how she built up this underwater scene, adding coral. And I hope I see a lot more of that. I think just the work she's doing is really pushing people in that direction and really showing what's possible. So I think 2020 is going to be a very exciting time for not only AR but VR to be used in a traditional motion graphics workflow. So exciting stuff.
Ryan Summers: And that's part of the big news that's going on this year, right? Adobe just acquired Oculus medium. Oculus Quest just came out. I feel the tools are getting way more ubiquitous. And then when someone like Adobe start saying, yes, we'll talk about it more, VR is a worthwhile tool set for them to start investing in. I can't wait. We'll get to trends. There's a lot of stuff I'm excited about in the next couple of years.
Joey Korenman: All right. So Joyce N. Ho, that's another good one Ryan. Incredible.
Ryan Summers: She's amazing, right? So she's been on my radar for a while. But I don't know if you guys watch Patriot Act, but besides being an awesome show, that set design that we might've even talked about last year. That set design and the animation and the integration of the show to the presentation. It's like when you go and see a concert and there's an entire performance.
That's stuff being synchronized and all thought out and obviously the work between the writers, and the host, and the actual animators together. And Joyce did I believe work on that and it's all over her website. But I love the flexibility, she worked for Verizon, she worked for Nike, she worked for IBM, but then she does this show.
She's definitely somebody to go and take a look at. I could be totally wrong, but I've been feeling a lot of her work gets referenced for other people's pitches, because her works that good and it's that wide ranging. But I love her stuff. Again, I think we're starting to see this influence of technology and art mixing together and I think her stuff's a great example of that.
EJ Hassenfratz: I got a chance to talk to someone else that worked on the Patriot Act, Dorca Musseb, that was at Blend and she was showing me all the interactions of the set. I just think there was such an interesting... Hopefully we see a lot more of that as well. And not to get into the trend thing, but I just thought it was very ingenious that they had a set that could have just been some dumb little backdrop, that had no part of the show, and made it this huge, it was almost its own character, as part of this show, which is really cool.
Joey Korenman: All right, so now we're moving into some of the reels that were really good and I am going to just quickly mention that Ordinary Folk's reel was good. We've talked a lot about them already. Allen Laseter had a new reel, which was also good. Alan actually was just on the School of Motion podcast and talked a lot about his process.
So there was one reel that I had to actually go back and find it. Because it wasn't someone that I was familiar with or was on my radar, but it was honestly one of the most unique reels I saw all year. It was a guy named Maxwell Hathaway and he's currently at Uber and it's a reel of all of the interactions he has designed and animated, UX/UI stuff.
And you know that stuff it's already on the frontier of what motion design is right now. But to then figure out how to turn that into a watchable reel, I thought it was a stroke of genius. So we're going to link to it in the show notes. That one really, really stuck out because it was so nontraditional. It's not what you're used to seeing.
And I really I think in the next, hopefully, 12 to 24 months, we're going to see an explosion of that stuff being really featured, and shown, and taught. But in the next five to ten, I feel that segment emotion design, is going to be just as big as on-air branding, and all that stuff.
Ryan Summers: Talk about unmined territory for animators or designers to make their name, like we talked about with Jess. I help people find artists all the time, right? I'll get a DM or I'll get an email or a text message saying like, hey, I need somebody who can do X. Can you help me find someone?
And no joke, the last five or six people that have asked me to help find someone who does UI/UX. Whenever I say, okay, cool, what kind of work do you need? His reel always is ubiquitous. It's always the person, who people say, hey, can you find me someone like this? And it's because, like you said, no one else has presented their work in a way that's that thoughtful, and that exhaustive.
And it just shows that there's still, as much as we all say, we think motion design is tired or played out, there's still these vast areas of the industry that are totally on mind and Max has essentially become the default person if you're ever going to reference work or look for someone. It's amazing to me that there aren't seven or eight different people like that. It's just because of the really thoughtful way that he showed his great work off.
EJ Hassenfratz: Totally.
Joey Korenman: All right, so after Max, Tyler Morgan. Wait, who is he? Who's that...? He's the second most talented person in his.. [crosstalk 00:24:33]. So Tyler, for everybody, that is Sarah Beth, our instructor for illustration promotion, that's her husband. And you want to talk about a power couple. Oh my God. But talk about his reel.
Ryan Summers: Tyler is awesome. I'm incredibly fortunate that I've been able to sit and work between so many great people. And I had at my time at RAIL, I literally had Tyler to my right. I had... Who else did I have? And then I had Handel behind me. And once you get to know people and then you see their demo reels, it's pretty awesome.
Because especially, again, voice and vision, Tyler's demo reel is such a perfect distillation of his personality. The work is amazing, right? Like it's really, really great, strong toony animation, well designed. But it's just funny. There's just something about Tyler's sense of humor that you don't even have to meet him when you watch his reel, to get a sense that what's one of those important things you need to know when you're going to bring someone in, that they're going to be fun to work with, that they're going to be someone who you can laugh with, someone you can go to lunch with. In those hopefully not too many really late nights, that they're going to have somebody that you can enjoy animating next to.
And Tyler's that. And on top of all that, I can't remember if it's his reel or not, but he's been posting a lot on his Instagram. He's learning 3D. And it's again one of those situations where it's his style extending into 3D, doesn't look like anyone else's stuff.
So I think it's a great example of somebody, he hasn't really been in the industry for that long, but great design chops, awesome animation, lots of desire to do personal work. But working at Oddfellows, his skill levels increased drastically. And then he's even pushing into 3D. It's a great demo reel. It's one of my favorite for the year.
EJ Hassenfratz: And I got to hang out with him and Sarah Beth in Portland, when we were shooting some stuff for her class and I found out, I think he got a Degree in Architecture or something like this. He did not study any of this. He just discovered it. And it's just goes to show you how good you can get if you just apply yourself.
He works really hard. And it makes me sick, I'm watching him, we were over at Oddfellows shooting some stuff, and I look over and he's doing traditional frame by frame animation. And I'm like, wait, you can do that too, what the hell? Come on, it's not fair. And now he's doing 3D. It's ridiculous.
Joey Korenman: All right. So there were two more. And actually I want to talk about Nidia Diaz. And EJ, I imagine that you would probably really enjoy her work. I assume you're familiar with Nidia, she's also in the Maxon world of presenters.
EJ Hassenfratz: She's incredible. And she is a perfect example of a designer who is killing it in the world of 3D. And I think just artists like Nidia, she's the superhero we need right now. [crosstalk 01:00:25]. Because we have all of this really echo chambery people every day look, as far as 3D goes, and she is just killing it and really pushing the limits.
And I think trying to steer 3D in all these different directions and it's just really great to see, for aesthetic. And I love the fact that she also did a series of tutorials as well. I really want to see more female voices in the teaching sphere. It's just bizarre to me. My wife's a teacher, the educational system is all women, but in 3D or even 2D, there's really not a lot. So I hope she really helps inspire a lot more people to get out there and start teaching. Her quick tips are amazing. Her work is beautiful, it's incredible work.
Joey Korenman: Just to call out too, we had to work with her this year on our visual effects for motion class. We had her do the style frames and the assets for the final project for that class. Which is actually a parody of that famous Maxwell tape spot with, it's almost like Whistler's mother, sitting in the chair, that kind of thing.
And she nailed it on the first try., There was no, try it this way. It was like, oh yeah, you got it, all right, okay, you're done, I guess. Which is rare. So she's really very smart about how she approaches stuff too.
Ryan Summers: I'll also say as somebody who watches more reels than I care to admit, I think her reel is the gold standard for someone who's a designer that also works in animation. I think she did an incredible job integrating style frames and incorporating them into the edit without it being slow or boring. And then showing how that ended up coming to life as animation.
Whether she did the animation or someone else did it, from her boards. As soon as her reel dropped, within I think four or five weeks, I saw four more reels that were basically the same editorial style, the same idea of dropping in reels. For something that's a very tired medium, demo reels. It was neat to see someone with that great of work, have a whole different way of showing them.
EJ Hassenfratz: Totally.
Joey Korenman: All right. So now let's talk about Chromosphere. Oh gosh, another powerhouse.
Ryan Summers: Amazing. And again, bringing in some more of that character animation TV feature influence into the world of motion design. But just watch their demo reel. It's a studio run by a guy named Kevin Dart. And he's been on my radar for a really long time coming from the animation world, but super stylized.
My buddy Miguel that I worked with at Imaginary Forces, he always had this term called cinematic graphic and it was this idea that things can look cinematic or photographic but still be designed or stylized. And in the 2D animation world, I don't think there's anyone that expresses that better than Chromosphere and Kevin Dart. Their work's crazy.
They remind me a little bit of IV animation in a sense that they'll work on something really big, but then at the same time they'll work on something using their animation design skills, but for something totally unrelated. They made a VR game. They've done their own films before. They worked with John Khars, who did Paperman, for this really great VR short called Age Of Sail.
But if you have Netflix, they're basically the design studio behind Carmen Sandiego, the really great animated show. But they did the entire opening titles. They just have this really great look that, I think we'll talk later about how we feel shape layer animations were at peak animation for that. But I would almost argue that if you point to a place like Chromosphere, there's still steps to go beyond that.
Joey Korenman: I think the most interesting fact I know about Chromosphere is that Kevin Dart, who is the founder and absolutely amazing illustrator designer, is colorblind. And in our Design BootCamp class, we have an interview with him and we talk about it and he explains his process of how he creates color palettes without accurately being able to see color.
And it was one of those light bulb moments for me when I heard him describe it and I'm like, oh my God. He's such a smart designer too. A lot of times when you see stuff that looks that good, it's easy to feel, well, I just wasn't born with that gift. Well, you probably see color better than Kevin Dart can, more accurately. So you have no excuse. [crosstalk 00:31:54].
Ryan Summers: Yeah, because if I think about someone's use of color, I think of Chromosphere and I think of somebody like Greg Gunn. It's amazing that he's color blind.
Joey Korenman: Oh my goodness. All right. So we've gotten through the reel section. Unless, EJ have you seen any 3D reels or anything, any stuff that stood out for you?
EJ Hassenfratz: I think since we're talking about reels and 3D work, I think maybe people dropping his little short film about all the things bad in our world. So I think that's worth noting because he doesn't do that very often. He's been working on that for about six years.
I think a David Ariew has been really killing it. He's a really good friend of mine. Just seeing his progression and he's been doing a lot of work with people as well as far as work for Zed and concert visuals and just seeing. He's really pushing the limits of concert visuals and just the aesthetic there. And just the care in detail in something that you could easily, let's do some Mography kaleidoscope trippy crap, and be done with it. He's really pushing the limits of-
Joey Korenman: Be crap and be done with it. He's really pushing the limits of that artistic, aesthetic as far as the club scene or DJ scene goes.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. Actually, I'm glad you brought up Beeple because one of the things that I noticed this year with him is he sort of broke through in a really big way into pop culture now where he's being mentioned. He's been mentioned multiple times on the Joe Rogan Podcast, which has millions and millions of listeners every show. He's doing art gallery showings, and he's speaking constantly. I mean, it's one of the most fascinating success stories I've ever seen in our industry because he just bootstrapped his own talent and success just through sheer force of will, and it's great. I hope everyone listening gets a chance to meet him one day because if you've never met him, I mean, he is such, well, I won't say he's a normal person that's not accurate.
Joey Korenman: No.
EJ Hassenfratz: No, but yeah, relatively, but you might expect some sort of Navy SEAL-level discipline. He's just sort of a normal person that has built a habit one day at a time. And you can sit and talk to him about completely non-Mography stuff for hours. It's so cool to see how successful his approach has made him. And now, I mean, his latest short film, Manifest Destiny, I mean, it's got a very strong message, but it's also kind of an art piece. I mean, just the level of conceptual thinking and the imagery. And he's not afraid to put something weird in front of people, yeah.
Joey Korenman: No, not at all. He will take the hit even if it's something that's kind of out of bounds. It's awesome.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, he's awesome. I have so much respect for that guy.
Joey Korenman: You know what, I don't know if you guys know about Corridor Digital, but they're these guys that basically do VFX for YouTube. And they invited him in and they did a Beeple daily challenge and each guy from Corridor, all had, I forgot how many hours, but they basically tried to do a Beeple style illustration while Beeple was working live. If you haven't met him yet, I think that's the best primer for who and what Beeple is all about. It's it on top of it, it's hilarious.It's really fun to watch.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yep. Yep. Awesome. All right, so some other studios that stood out, you had a great comment actually, right? I'll let you take this one, but you put The Mill on there and you had this awesome insight.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, so you know in a day when we're talking about giant VFX studios closing up shop, normally when you talk about The Mill, you think of them for VFX, you think of them for super high end CG kind of photorealistic car commercials and stuff like that. But just down the street from DK, Mill Chicago, their work, they've always been busy. They always have tons of people, but their work never really hit at my radar at all. But they did this awesome piece called Holy Guacamole, and we may talk about it later, but I really lament the days of the old school PSYOP work like Happiness Factory, where they were doing [inaudible 01:09:02] feature quality, Pixar quality, character animation, bringing in people from VFX companies to moonlight on stuff.
Holy Guacamole from The Mill in Chicago I think is one of the best pieces they've ever done, full of really great character animation. It's all CG, but it's really, really, again, taking two D animation sensibilities and infusing them into CG and just the character animation's great, it's funny. It actually reminds me of some of the old stuff that Moonbot studios, sadly which also isn't open anymore, used to do for Chipotle, every year they would do like a big character animation piece. It's really good. I think it redefines what The Mill is capable of doing. And again, it's kind of a love letter, to what PSYOP, I think used to be.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, we actually got to work with The Mill this year. They did the intro for VFX, for motion, and Donnie Bauer was the creative director. He's a awesome guy. So creative and his team was just amazing. And we know in talking to them, like for me to even say we got to work with The Mill this year, it's kind of weird. It just doesn't sound right coming out of my mouth. And when we approached studios to do this stuff, I'll just put it out there, we're not, we can't actually afford The Mill. Right? We have a little bit of a budget, but I'm always curious and sometimes I'll ask studios and artists I'm just curious, why are you putting so much into this?
I really appreciate it, and it's amazing, it's like a bucket list thing. And what Donnie was saying was The Mill does have that reputation and they have this capability to be really, really creative with their technical jobs that isn't as widely known and they're trying to tell that story. And so that's one of the reasons that they helped us out and made such an incredible intro.And I think that Holy Guacamole piece is like a great example. I mean, they have some really good creative thinkers in there, also want to give a shout out to my old college buddy, Erica Hilbert, who is now, I don't know what her current title is, she's sort of running The Mill in Chicago. I think it's Grand Poobah is her title, Managing Director at The Mill in Chicago. And I went to college with her. Yeah, The Mill.
And I feel like there are studios that get that big and I'm worried they won't be around forever, which we'll talk about in a bit, but I don't feel that way about The Mill. It feels like they, they're kind of doing it right? Beauteous, this next one, Ryan, I'd never heard of.
Joey Korenman: Oh, you haven't seen their work.
Ryan Summers: Oh my goodness.
EJ Hassenfratz: I'm almost in bed. Well I looked at it but now I'm embarrassed that I hadn't heard of them. So, why don't you unveil them because they have a neat name.
Joey Korenman: Oh man, I hope I'm saying it right, but Cabeza Patata they,
Ryan Summers: Cabeza Patata. [inaudible 01:11:39]
Joey Korenman: But they hit me because they did this Spotify premium series of ads. But again, in that world where I'm super sensitive to character animation feeling the same and motion design, it will blow you away when you first see it. It has a very stop motion aesthetic in terms of posing, and timing and spacing, which we talk about all the time at School of Motion. But it feels unique automatically just because the way it moves. But then when you start looking at it more and more, you realize it's not Stop Motion, it's CG, they're using Marvelous Designer, but it's got bits of two D on top of CG characters, with these very photorealistic cloth Sims.
Its characters dancing to different types of music. But I think, again, I feel like I'm saying it over and over, we're, we're at this kind of stage three, of motion design where people are taking the great things from motion design, the incredible use of color and shape design, patterning, two D sensibilities and mix it in with what we see and kind of feature level character animation. Again, all those fundamentals of animation, posing, timing, spacing, appeal, charm, all of it is in these great little kind of bursts of animation. I love their stuff. I can't wait to see more and more from them and I'll be honest, I haven't dove into all their kind of catalog of work, but just that set of pieces alone, it's like, wow, this is totally feels new. This feels fresh.
Yeah. EJ have you been familiar with them?
EJ Hassenfratz: Oh yeah, I've been following them on Instagram for quite a while and I just love how they, I feel like they alone have really shined the light on using Marvelous Designer. And I just think it's such a really cool aesthetic. It's very like fashiony at times. And again, to reiterate what Ryan said, just that mix of like they're amazing illustrators and they translate, it's just cool to see on their webpage how they translate one of their two D pieces, their illustrations and a three D and they just have this really cool aesthetic that I don't see anyone else doing.When I see a character like this and they have those super realistic clothing on, it's like, Oh, that's Cabeza. Yeah, that's them.
Joey Korenman: That's hard to do now.
EJ Hassenfratz: It is.
Joey Korenman: It's really hard to be distinctive these days. And it's, I'm serious. I'm embarrassed that I wasn't doing it on my radar. Their stuff is amazing. It's like so fun to look at.
On the same line, there's also an artist Cesar Pelizer, prime butchering that, but he, I don't know if he's a studio or what. He just did a whole piece that just dropped a month ago. And why I bring him up is because I actually live right down the street from a Kroger supermarket and his stuff, he did the entire, branding for it. So I know their production company's Hornet. There's quite a few people that did the actual commercial, which I see on TV all the time now. He's characters are very much like a Cabeza with kind of big heads, tiny max kind of deal.Also very two D inspired, very simple shapes. But the composition, the colors are amazing.
But I was in the supermarket and I'm like, Oh my God. Like that's Caesar. I've seen his work before. Now I see him in my grocery store, I'm seeing billboards and I just think it's super cool to see. So at least on a local level, or wherever you have Kroger supermarkets, but to see an artist killing it and you're seeing the branding basically take over your town here in Denver, it's like everywhere. And I just think that's so super cool to see that outside. Oh yeah, I see that on Instagram. Now I can tell my wife, you see those little characters, I know that guy. That guy's awesome.
EJ Hassenfratz: That's awesome. His work is really cool. It almost feels like inflated versions of Markus Magnusson. Like there's a clean simplicity to it that's super fun. It's inspired by two D but it almost feels Stop Motion. I know when we did these a year or two ago, Joey, I complained about this kind of house style and motion design, but I feel like we can finally say we're past that. Like we've shown three or four examples in the last hour that we're going in wildly different directions now. It's an exciting time for character work.
Joey Korenman: Gosh, and this is a good example of there's so much out there and new artists popping up every day. It's funny, so EJ and I were just at Ringling the other day giving a talk and well, that's a really nice way of putting it. We were giving students terrible advice is what we were doing, if we're being honest. We were there and one of the instructors there, David Brodeur, who's a buddy of ours and also an amazing artist, locked n loading and he's like, "Oh, hold on, I got to grab somebody". And he brought in one of the students who's named Doug Alberts and he was recently featured on Motionographer. And he's still, he's a senior at Ringling right now.
And if you look at his work, you can tell that, just wait like five years and there's going to be some new remix look out there that it's going to come from him, because he's very versatile. He's already interned at Gunner, apparently he actually worked on the Blend titles. And this is happening in a 21/22 year old now. So I feel like this podcast in four years is going to be all about the new artists and work that's out there. And I think there's only one more studio on this list and there's a million more we could have put on here.
EJ Hassenfratz: I know.
Joey Korenman: These are just the ones that came to the mind, but I think this one really is deserving Hue and Cry. You want to talk about that?
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, so I had vaguely remembered them from a Chips Ahoy commercial they had done a while ago, but a really talented designer, Angie Son, who I'd worked with years ago at Imaginary Forces. I think when she was either just out of school or was interning with us, she had moved to the East coast to go work for them. And she had sent me this link saying, Hey, you should check this out. We're about to drop our new studio project, our in house project. And they made this short film called "Into the flame" and there's a ton of behind the scenes. They built an actual website for it, which is great. The behind the scenes video is awesome, but they kind of explained the process about how they worked on it sometimes when the studio was slow, everyone was working on and other times they would kind of just do drips and drabs of it based on people's availability.
But just the sheer full creative force of an entire studio working on a project. I don't think that their actual pain work is bad, but it just never hit my radar. I never really noticed them. Nothing ever kind of like bubbled up to the surface. And I think if you roll through their site, they've made a really great decision to put their short film as the first piece. Everything else I feel like pales in comparison to it. It's just so well designed. The animation is really fun. It's really bizarre and weird compared to all of their other professional work for clients is safe. But man, it's just such a great line in the sand announcement to the world. That reminds me of when I started working at Reyal, they were just rebranding themselves because they had started to get into a rut and getting the same work and they basically did a manifesto, relaunch the website and their voice was back all of a sudden. Into the flame is great.
The behind the scenes, by the way is one of the best behind the scenes I've ever seen. You have to watch it and just look at the edge of the frame and the background because it's really funny. It sells what the studio is about. I think it's actually one of the great, the best little Anthem pieces if you wanted to try to convince someone to move to a nontraditional location for motion design and join a team that's really pushing themselves together. It's a great little piece and it makes me really excited to see what 2020 will be for them with their work. Like do they get more work that falls into that line, or they'll be able to challenge themselves, how will their work diversify for spending all this time and money making their own personal piece.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. You brought up something that has been a recurring theme on this podcast all year long, which is that the secret to being one of those studios that gets talked about and sort of sets a new trend, is not to wait for clients, pay you to do that, but to figure out how you can find the time or invest the time. I mean, watching that short film, it reminded me of the Good Books piece. It's got a similar Kafkaesque thing about it. And it's trippy and kind of uncomfortable and it's very difficult to get a client to pay you to do that, if not impossible, but it got so much attention, and it got a staff pick and everything. So, it's hard to imagine that it won't lead to client work.
And so I think that everybody from Ryan Honey on down has said that that's basically the secret today to getting your studio on the map. All right, well all of that stuff is going to be linked to in the show notes. So now we get to talk about big news in tools, tools by the way, tools, I almost had to practice saying it. It's like one of those words like "roads" where it's like you say it, you say it too many times. It's like is that really how? All right. So there were quite a few new tools and very interesting happenings with tools. So why don't we start with one that, I thought it was kind of a big deal and I'm really curious what you two think.
I got to go to Adobe Max this year for the first time, which was awesome. Adobe knows how to throw a party and they announced a whole bunch of neat stuff and I think probably the biggest thing they announced was Photoshop for iPad, which I haven't had a chance to mess around with. But based on the success of Procreate, I think this could be a game changer. So I'm curious what you guys think about Photoshop for IBM?
EJ Hassenfratz: Oh man, have you used the DJ?
Joey Korenman: I have not. I used to use Photoshop or was it draw whatever the drawing one was, that Adobe had. I don't think it was Photoshop though. And it's funny because after Camp Mograph you just see all these, you know everyone's making beautiful illustration. I'm like, damn it, I need to get back into drawing. But that's my story. That's why I actually downloaded Procreate because everyone would talk about Procreate and this was before Max. So I'm on Procreate right now.
EJ Hassenfratz: I will say all this stuff is my jam. Like the iPad, like drawing and creation tools. I am super into, super excited about Photoshop. When they announced it they've made a big deal saying this is it. We've had three or four different cut down versions of Photoshop for different things. This is real Photoshop for the iPad, sharing the code but optimized for your interactions for touch. Right. It comes out. It is a bummer right now. It is super disappointing. It's not as fast as everybody was claiming it to be for a lot of people, but it's not Photoshop. It's missing a lot of features, which it is a 1.0 but they did make this big kind of statement that you're going to be able to work on Photoshop and then transfer it to the cloud and then open up on your desktop and hand off.
You can do that but it's missing tons of stuff. But for our world, the biggest thing is the drawing tools are super disappointing. But the thing I'll say is on top of that, at the same time they released Adobe Fresco and that is a totally new, completely original code base built for iPad, full drawing experience. And it's being run by Kyle Webster. I don't know if it's been run by, but he is the social media public facing face of the app. That is super cool. It's really, really fun. It has these really great natural media brushes and there's a free version and a paid version. If you have the creative cloud, you have it now. It uses Photoshop brushes. They're making new brushes for it, just for Fresco. All that said, it still pales in comparison to Procreate, especially with Procreate five having just come out and Procreate five supports animation, which they said for the longest time they really weren't going to do.
It's still early stages, but you have a timeline, you have onion skins, it works with layers, But Procreate is absolutely amazing. It's crazy how they came out of nowhere. A really small design studio. There's been so many different attempts that, Adobe had sketchbook. There's so many different ways to draw, but I love Procreate so much. I wish they make a desktop version because it feels so natural. It's everything about it. The ability to just capture video while you're drawing has kind of changed the game for animators and illustrators because when you draw in Procreate, it just automatically skin captures what you're doing and you can instantly send stuff up to Instagram or put stuff up on your website. I love Procreate. It's amazing how this studio just came out of nowhere and Adobe who should have the best drawing tools, they pale in comparison, I think right now.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, I started messing around with Procreate so I'm not much of an illustrator, but when we were working with Sarah Beth on her class, we were trying to figure out how to make it as accessible as possible because Cintiqs are still very expensive, But, almost everybody has some kind of tablet now. And so we thought maybe we can have some instruction on how you could use Procreate with your class and not just Photoshop. I'm messing around with it and it is the most fun drawing app I've ever used and I can't even really explain why. It's just they've nailed it and it helps you draw better.There's kind of nifty things it does that you can draw a circle and then hold the pen down for an extra second and it will make it a perfect circle.
And then there's just little things like that, it's just amazing. And, this was one of the notes I had in tools. It used to be that if you wanted to be an illustrator in this industry, you had to have a Cintiq. There was really no way around it. And they're very expensive. And so you either had to be an artist that saved up money and bought the big one that used to cost a couple grand or you get a smaller one and you'd have to make some sacrifices or you work for a studio and they would make the investment. Now, I feel like you don't really need the Cintiq. It's much nicer to have that in and to work directly in Photoshop and all of that. And they're really useful. Even for rotoscoping and stuff but if you just want to get into illustrating, you don't need it anymore. You just need a tablet.
EJ Hassenfratz: I totally agree. I agree so much. You used to have to already be a capital I illustrator to be able to afford to be an illustrator digitally. Right? You couldn't just be like, you know what, I want to try to learn to draw and then drop two grand on a Cintiq, right? It was ridiculous. But I know tons of people working on TV shows, animated TV shows that have traded in their Wacoms, traded in their Cintiqs and they just roll around with the biggest iPad and I know a lot of them really wished for two things. They wish that Apple would make a standalone, not necessarily like iPad, but essentially a touch sensitive monitor that allows to use the Apple pencil and then they wish that their I-phones could support Apple pencil because I don't know how they figured it out, but the driver support's always great.
You never have it crashing on you, which is one of the biggest things with Wacom every three days it feels like you have to mess around with drivers. But the pressure sensitivity, the ability to use tilt, the ability to have a different action when your pencil's laid down flat versus on point. They just came out of nowhere. And even though Steve Jobs always said, "if you see us putting out a stylist you know we failed", they nailed the pencil support for the iPad and I just wish they could just expand it to every one of their products.
Joey Korenman: I just think, there's the availability of, everyone has an iPad and I think not a lot of people know that you actually don't need an iPad Pro to use the pencil.
EJ Hassenfratz: You don't.
Joey Korenman: You just need one of their latest regular iPads. And when I found that out, I bought one of the, I think it was $300 iPads and it was the first one, it was like their educational iPad, but it supported the Apple pencil. So I picked both those up immediately once I found out how cheap that was. And I think that alone is going to draw a lot of people away from Cintiqs because it's 10 times that. But [inaudible] then just Procreate I think really drives that as well because you have the iPad, everyone has one, you have the Procreate. And I think one of the major things is, I always in sketch, Adobe sketch was the one I used to use and it was clunky and I couldn't really get things looking, but in Procreate I think they just make it so fun and make the experience so fun.
And all the gestures are very intuitive. It's just way more intuitive to actually create on an iPad. And I think one of the biggest barriers for me going from sketching normally, or even just sketching on a Wacom tablet. It was weird though sketching on a Wacom tablet because your hand's here, your head's looking at a screen, it doesn't feel natural. But being able to do that in Procreate and then just easily be able to share it to your computer. I've been drawing a lot more because it's a lot more fun and I can't wait to dig into the animation tools because I've never done cell animation before, but I feel like that's a trend that everyone's getting into as well. And even mixing cell animation with three D. I've seen a lot more of that kind of stuff and it's definitely a area I want to dabble in.
All right. So let's talk about some of the Apps that we use every day, like Cinema 4D and After Effects. So After Effects had a bunch of updates this year, there were some new features added and stuff like that, but I think the biggest story there for me anyway is just the fact that, and I know this because I've gotten to spend a fair amount of time with the After Effects team this year at various conferences. And we worked hand in hand with them on a video we did with Puget Systems about how to make a fast After Effects PC. They are very focused on making After Effects perform better, right now. I know that it's almost like cliche to point out that they actually do read all those feature requests and they listen to user feedback and all those things.
But having talked with them and, and not just Victoria, but the engineers that are working on After Effects, that is what they're focused on. That's a big focus for them. And I wish the team was three times the size that it is so it would happen faster. But they are doing things like moving effects onto the GPU and they really are like, you can see that in each release there's another batch of effects that's now GPU accelerated, another effect that uses multiple cores and things like that. It's not happening as fast as everyone would like, but I'm really happy that I've seen proof that this is happening and I suspect next year there will be a release where everyone goes Whoa, that is quite a bit faster.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I mean I think this Max release for some users it actually is faster. I think they made this big push for multilayer EXRs which was the biggest no-no. The XR's were already rough, but what have you started stuffing all of your CG passes into just one EXR file and then pulling them back out with extractor, it was impossible to use, so it made you not want even think about using it. And honestly I think that's why a lot of people who use After Effects and they were using it for motion graphics and CG, they would start going to something like Fusion that got a lot faster, seven to eight, sometimes 10 times faster,
Joey Korenman: Way faster,
EJ Hassenfratz: way faster. Expressions have gotten a lot faster, much faster. So much so that Duik has gotten much quicker in the interface and I think we'll continue to see things like that speed up.
I don't think you can really, I mean you said it doesn't feel like things are coming fast enough and we wish they were coming faster. I think they wish things were coming faster too because they hear it, they hear it and they know it. But I don't know how to stress. I'm probably one of the loudest kind of critics of After Effects. I've been really loud about it. So much so that they've called me before and said, how about you come here and tell us what we're doing wrong. Right. Like the After Effects team, Victoria and the team there, they're reaching out all the time for ways to make it better. But I don't know how much we can stress, they're literally taking apart a 25 year old plane while it's flying and trying to rebuild it. Right?
Joey Korenman: It's a good metaphor.
EJ Hassenfratz: It's a tired expression, but it's true. And, I'm frustrated and I would love shape layers to be lightning fast. I'd love to have a flowchart 2.0 we can view it on the list, Uber folders, everything. But I think, and we maybe even said this last year and it did somewhat come true. I totally agree with you. I think in the next year all of that really hard work that felt like we weren't seeing anything from, it's going to start coming in spades for After Effects
Joey Korenman: For sure. Yeah. EJ, have you, I know you're mostly in cinema four D land, but I know you did actually do a bonus lesson for Mark's class where you used multilayered EXR files in Avid,
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, which is the first time I've actually used that. And in the Seven 40 base camp class we had Renzo Reyes on and he is just the wizard of compositing. And even he said that he uses EXRs but After Effects really doesn't handle them that well. So it's best to just do PNGs. And I think for most of us that was just the accepted format that we would render out as a image sequence. But going through that bonus lesson and going through the EXR using normals passes even like just all the things that were available to you to just extract from a single EXR file and having that depth of color. And I actually started learning about okay, half float [inaudible 01:32:44] and it's funny because I did a poll on Twitter. I was like, okay, how many people were using EXR? How many people were using P and G and it was like 20% EXR and then 80% P and G. But everyone,
Joey Korenman: It breaks my heart.
EJ Hassenfratz: Once they found out about the news that it was so much faster, it's like, Oh man, okay, we really got to get on this EXR train. And the people that have been using EXR this entire time were just like, what are you all doing? You should have been using this the entire time.
P and G's are so slow.
Joey Korenman: EXRs, it feels 100 times faster. I don't know what it actually is, but it's a total body of life improvement
EJ Hassenfratz: And in that too, it can't be said enough. Everybody talks about the Adobe team being really slow, but they added Cryptomatte support as well as an available type of pass that After Effects will accept now, which is huge if you're used to using After Effects, because how many times have you rendered out three object buffers, start a cop and you're like, Oh, I need another object buffer. I need to go back, wait, I got to add the object buffer tag. I've got to render out just to get a window, or to get a handle, or to get all this stuff that's a certain texture. And now with Cryptomatte support, it's fairly straight forward to just say you know what? I need that and click on it. And now you have essentially an object buffer or a matte pass to be able to pull things out.
Ryan Summers: I think there's a lot of people that have never used Cryptomatte before either. And I think they're just learning about that workflow as well. And I know when I found out about it, it's just like, wow, this is a total game changer, as far as your object buffer workflow, everything's in that single thing. You can, whatever you want to do, it's like discovering AOVs all of a sudden, they're like, wow.
Joey Korenman: Nice, you're going to have to make a tutorial, so I know what you mean by all those words.
Ryan Summers: I think I have that capability.
Joey Korenman: I love it. So, I wanted to call out just a couple of I think last year we ran through a bunch of scripts and stuff that came out for After Effects and this year, there were so many that it's hard to even remember any that stood out. But there was one that stood out and it might just be because it came out recently, but everyone started screaming about it and I looked into it and it's absolutely ridiculous, which is Lockdown and we'll link to it in the show notes. It's essentially a plugin for After Effects that will let you track a lot of points on a surface at the same time.
And then it applies that motion to artwork. So you could for example, have someone moving around and their shirt is wrinkling and deforming and shifting and warping and it will capture all of that. And then you can put a logo on the shirt that tracks perfectly and looks like it's on this deforming shirt, which is voodoo when you watch like the demo video. And then I looked at, well who the hell made that? Well it was Chris Vranos, so I don't know how you say his last name, but he also made a composite brush, which came out last year and was another one of those, how the hell is this working? So this is a plugin developer who's clearly got a voodoo doll or a pentagram in his basement or something. He's got some crazy ability to make these amazing plugins.
EJ Hassenfratz: It's amazing. I could be wrong, but I feel he might have also been involved with Paint and Stick, the first plugin that allowed you to try to
Joey Korenman: do
EJ Hassenfratz: cell frame animation inside After Effects. He is operating on a different level, for sure. The stuff he does. I know a lot of people were looking at the sell that a scripts team had co-whatever. It was a week ago or two weeks ago and Lockdown was my number one thing. You don't know you need it right now and if you don't use Mocha, you may really not realize how much you need it right now. There's going to be a point in time in the next 12 months that you're going to say, man, I wish I could stick this thing onto that thing. This is going to take a long time to try to match, move or try to animate on, or I may just not be able to do it. Lockdown is fast and it's pretty solid and I don't know how Chris does it, but there's already been, I think two point releases that aren't bug fixes, but legit additional features being added on top of it. So it's still even being actively developed in, as it's going out.
Joey Korenman: That's so cool. All right, so we've got, I think this might be, I know for EJ probably this is the biggest news of the year and one of the challenges with teaching Cinema 4D is that you need Cinema 4D and historically it's been fairly expensive for one person to buy. And we've been working with Maxon since we launched EJ's class and they've been letting students have student licenses to use, but now they had two huge announcements this year actually. So EJ why don't you take these, what did Maxon announce this year?
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. So the first thing they announced, actually, yeah they. Did they announce Redshift acquisition first? I think they announced that at [inaudible],they acquired Redshift. And that was big news because they got this new CEO, David McGavran that came from Adobe. We know Adobe likes to buy stuff because they got the money to spend. And it's just really cool to see that, this is what Maxon is going to start doing. And Redshift was that first big swing. I think it's so extremely smart because, when you have all these different cinema three D Apps like Blender has Cycles and, and EV and Cinema 4D is just been kind of chilling there with Physical and Standard for a while. And I think that was definitely needed for them to acquire some very Pro third party render company.
And I think Redshift is really riding high these days. Octane had their time and I feel Octane's slowing down a bit and everyone's using Redshift now. So I think it was a perfect timing for that strike. That was the first big news. The second was that Cinema 4D is going subscription. They announced that at SIGGRAPH and number one, it's now not $4,000 barrier to get into three D in Cinema 4D, and I think this was really needed because, a subscription, Blender is free, so how do you try to mitigate, how do you try to bridge that gap and make this more accessible? So that's really the mantra now is making three D available and affordable for everybody. That was one of the biggest problems doing this course, is that you have all these users that are just used to being in the After Effects world and they're paying 50 bucks a month to have creative cloud. And then you learn about like, Oh yes, and before DMC and all this stuff about [inaudible].
Joey Korenman: Then you learn about, oh, yes, 4DMC, and all this stuff about this and go through the course, or whatever. It's like, oh yeah, I want to buy Cinema 4D now. Wait, it costs how much? It's just this astronomical number from what you're used to as just a 2D animator or if you're living in that Adobe ecosystem. So I'm super excited to see what this means for the market and how many more users from Adobe ... or if people were just looking at Blender and maybe you find, oh, it's not as intuitive as Cinema 4D. I want to jump over. But that main barrier was that cost, that's gone now. The bundling of Redshift I think is really smart too, just because I think a lot of people are coming from 2D, going into 3D. I think just the render thing is just this whole nother thing that they really didn't have to worry about in After Effects. It's like, you had one render and you don't have to think about it. Just the fact that it's making that transition a lot easier ... way less friction to get into that world I think is great.
I think subscription as far as a current user, you would assume that you don't have to wait a year for another update. So it's going to be really exciting to see, okay ... They just came out with a service pack update that had Redshift node support, or Redshift supports C4D noises now, noise shader. So it's exciting to see that you don't have to wait for an entire year to see a really cool update. Another thing that was teased by David McGavran was UV update. If you watch his tweets ... I definitely suggest you follow him on Twitter. He said something like, "We hear you," or "In the capital, U and V was there."
EJ Hassenfratz: Sneaky over there.
Joey Korenman: That's something they didn't do in the past. Maxon's never really teased features like David is doing now. It's almost like, is he going broke? Did Paul okay this? Okay, I guess it's fine. I guess it's fine.
EJ Hassenfratz: I'm glad you said that name too, because I don't think it can be said enough that Paul in his position as working with MAX on USA ... you know Cineversity was a part of his initiative. There are a lot of things he did as much as he could in his position. But as important as it is that Dave was brought in from Adobe to run it, Paul was also promoted, and I think we're already starting to see the change in the way Maxon engages with the community. They've always done a great job of having the best-in-class shows at NAB and Siggraph, and bringing in great people to talk. But I always felt like there was something missing in the way that they talk directly to people. I think the 3D motion tour, I didn't know you've been a big part of it, I feel like all these little initiatives ... the blog is actually starting to get fired up. These updates, Paul has had his finger on the pulse of motion designers' needs and what we want, better than I think anybody who represents any of the other software we use, and he's down in the trenches talking to people. He's always on the phone. He's always traveling.
There's something about the way he speaks that no matter how big Maxon and Cinema 4D get and how far up the chain someone like Paul goes, you still feel like he's no more than a phone call or a walk to the stage at NAB ... he'll be there, and he'll be able to help you and he'll be able to get you connected to the right people. That's something different than any ... try doing that with Autodesk. Try doing that with the Foundry and it just doesn't happen.
Joey Korenman: Does any of those users even know who the CEO is? They've never met them. It's just something that's not a thing. I think just the community, they've promoted Paul and Matthias and going on that 3D motion tour, that was totally, they wanted to do that, because I feel like they've really created this energy, at Any Bee, at Siggraph, at some of these other meetups across the country that people want to tap into. They just see the fun that everyone's having, and just the access you can have to all these amazing talented artists. And just knowing that you have someone like Beeple or Andrew Kramer even, the top of the industry, they're the most accessible down-to-earth people you will ever meet. I think that Paul and Matthias, they've really cultivated, that is the standard for this industry. It's a very giving, caring community that we always want to help each other out, and we're always there. We're always accessible and it's one of the reasons why I love what I do. I love that I make my living in this application just because of the people behind it, and that they actually care.
EJ Hassenfratz: It's a wonderful company. Yeah. I was actually just doing the math. I mean, creative cloud licenses, 50, 55 bucks a month, something like that. Now you can get Cinema 4D for 60 bucks a month, and if you want Redshift it's like an extra 20. The cost of entry has gone down so far. I know, all in for 120, 130 bucks, it's not nothing. But compared to ... I mean, I remember before Adobe Creative Cloud I would have to drop 900 bucks to upgrade to the latest version of the creative suite. Maybe I would save some money by not getting InDesign and not getting Illustrator or something because I didn't use them as much. I mean, now it's like, you can basically ... I mean, it's a 1000 bucks a year, maybe 1500 as a professional. That's nothing. You would spend way more than that in the past. I don't know, when they announced the subscription pricing I was like, that is 100% the right thing to do. I imagine they're probably seeing that in the number of Cinema 4D users that are coming onboard. Speaking of subscription, this caught me by surprise. I did not know this was going to happen but Red Giant went subscription this year, which is amazing.
There's some after effects tools that are third party that you just have to have. I would say Particular ...
Joey Korenman: Magic Bullet.
EJ Hassenfratz: ... is definitely one of those. Yeah, Magic Bullet and if you're an editor you're going to want PluralEyes. Now you get all that stuff for a monthly subscription. I think they even have an introductory pricing ...
Joey Korenman: That's crazy.
EJ Hassenfratz: ... right now of like 300 bucks for the whole year.
Joey Korenman: It's kind of mind-blowing.
Male speaker: It is ridiculous. I mean, the tools. Yeah, the tools are accessible. Speaking of low price tools, Blender. I actually don't know much about Blender. I know it's free. I know that a lot of people are saying, "Wow, it can actually do a lot of the same things as Cinema 4D." I'm curious what you guys think, is it actually like [Parody 01:45:53]?
Joey Korenman: I don't know how you feel, EJ, but I'm super excited about where Blender is going. The most recent update ... if you have played with it before, the UI is a little hard to get your head around if you've played with 3D, but they're working really hard to change that. I mean, you mentioned EEVEE, their real-time render. I loved it. I got interested in it just for one thing, for Grease Pencil, their 2D animation system that's built into the 3D world. I don't think Maxon is in any trouble of losing their crown or really losing a lot of market share, but I think it's going to become the way a lot of startup people who have never played with 3D, that don't have money for a subscription, it's going to be their entry into the industry. I do think in some ways ... EJ, you may know even more, it actually does beat out Cinema 4D in some things, like its character animation tools are pretty solid. Even though I do think Cinema's character tools are getting better. Again, that Grease Pencil, the 2D animation tools there are really, really fun to play with.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. The Grease Pencil is ... I'm starting to follow more and more Blender artists, just because they're always showing the things that Blender's capable of. Yeah, Grease Pencil is amazing. That's the thing, they have ... now, I'm not really sure. I've never really paid attention to Blender up until this past year, which I think says loads, that it's now this major player on the scene and I welcome it. I love that there's that ... I feel just like, we want competition for After Effects, just to push things in the right direction. I think that's what Blender is going to be doing here too, pushing the envelope. Just the fact that they have all these different developers that are always making tools for Blender ... That's the part of it though, is that, yes, Blender's free, but a lot of these things that I've been seeing as far as really cool features, there are little add-ons that you got to buy here and there. So there is that little gotcha. But as far as Blender, yeah, the sculpting and the modeling tools, the UV tools, they look really amazing. I mean, hopefully the UV update that is impending for Cinema 4D can answer some of that stuff. But the one thing that really blew me away was just discovering the EEVEE and Cycles workflow in Blender. That is a game-changer.
For people that might not know out there, EEVEE is the real-time render that is inside of Blender. That's great if you want to just stick with that real-time rendering, it's kind of unreal. But if you want to switch over to another renderer that is very similar to Octane or RedShift, production rendering, you can easily switch that over. Everything translates, the materials, lights, all that stuff, texts. You can turn on a switch, and it dumps off that to more production render. Which is something I think would go a long way if we had that in Cinema 4D, where you can immediately see in the real-time render what the lights look like, what the textures look like. You don't have to wait for, or deal with the open glViewPort, that is really nice. But I mean, it's not so nice anymore because you see what everyone else has now. It's like, we really need to get this up to snuff.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. It mimics a lot of what Arnold is trying to do with their edition of the GPU render. Right? Right now, at least for the time being, the intention behind Arnold's GPU render is, go ahead and start working, get your lighting, get everything nailed down with the real-time render, so that it's getting as close as you can to production. But then when you actually have to go and send things off to render, instead of having to build a full GPU farm on top of whatever CPU stacks you have, you switch over to Arnold CPU and then you use your preexisting CPU-based farm. So you get the speed of a GPU, which is almost like real-time, and then you get the CPU resources you've already got. They've spent a lot of time ... that's why they're kind of late to the game, having GPU and CPU be as close to one-to-one as possible. In Cinema 4D world, it's almost as if, I don't know how many people use it, but U-Render is a real-time render. It's almost like an element in After Effects. But in Cinema 4D it's a real-time preview, essentially almost render. Imagine if you render, and when you flip the switch Redshift would look almost exactly the same. So you have like your full production rendering happening, but you can have a real-time render built internally.
It's really, really interesting to see. The thing that blows me away is that this stuff is all free, right? It's insane that you can get access to this. Even as cheap as Cinema 4D is becoming to get into, the fact that anyone, that schools could base an entire curriculum based on something like Blender and essentially not have to really pay much of anything, I think it's great for everybody. Like you said, I wish there was an After Effects equivalent to Blender that could just push Adobe ... not the Adobe After Effects team, but the Adobe management to say, wow, we have to kick After Effects in the [crosstalk 01:50:58].
Male speaker: Yeah. I think that the subscription comes at the perfect timing. I think Blender announced their 2.8 update a few months before the subscription announcement. It's just like, that alone I think was a ... it would be interesting to hear, did they consider subscription before that news and before that Blender announcement, or was that reactionary? Because I think now you really need to start rethinking about, what's available for free and how can you compete with that? How can you compete with these models like Unreal, and Unity to another extent, where you can, as long as you're not making a lot of money using it, you don't have to pay anything? How Blender and how Unreal, and how all these other companies that give away their software for free, are making up for it is just taking a piece of the pie of the money that's made by these gaming studios, and it's so inexpensive. They make money based on a bunch of people making content. I think that's why you see all of these people using Unity, all these people posting, creating stuff in Blender.
So it's going to be really interesting to see how Cinema 4D really tackles that because it's taking away a lot of first time 3D users.
Male speaker: Also I'm starting to see Blender getting used in related fields to motion design. When you start talking about experiential design or interactive. I wonder if it'll even start expanding into ... as UI/UX starts getting more centered around 3D. Again, like we talked about, as much as we think motion design is just, we know what it is and we know how it works, there's still Wild West areas for software as well as artists to reach out into. I wonder if Blender starts finding its way into those sides of the industry as well.
Male speaker: This stuff is so fascinating to me. I used to do about 50/50 After Effects and Cinema 4D. Then since starting School of Motion I've really focused on the 2D side. And it wasn't that long ago, maybe five, six years and I feel like everything's different now. It's really crazy. I cannot wait to see what happens next year. I know, I have to say too, having David as the new CEO over at Maxon, I've noticed a huge increase in just the rate of improvements and change. I know that he's been pushing really hard to redo a lot of operations over there, the way Maxon does things. I think it's going to be a great year for 3D. You mentioned that we all hope for some app to come along and compete with After Effects, just to create that competitive atmosphere, which helps everybody. There is this app that's being developed right now ... every once in a while it pops back up and everyone's like, oh, yeah, that's still happening. It's called Cavalry and Mainframe in the UK is actually developing it. I don't know if it's an open beta yet, but you can, if you go ... we'll just put it in the show notes but you can actually go and apply to the beta, and every so often they let people in and you can download beta builds.
Essentially the way I describe it is, it's a 2D tool. It's designed to do a lot of the things After Effects does, but it's built more like Cinema 4D where you create procedural systems and it's really cool. It's really fun to play with. I mean, it's beta. I opened to the beta probably six months ago. I haven't checked on any of the newer builds, and it was pretty intuitive. If you know Cinema 4D, you pick it up pretty quickly. It was definitely beta and there was a lot of stuff missing. It's going to take a little while before there's anything even remotely approaching Parody with After Effects. But the fact that it's happening is awesome, and I'm really rooting for those guys because it's a very cool tool.
Male speaker: Yeah. Man, I'm super excited about it. I think the best way to think about it is, they're building a very procedural tool from the ground up. I know everyone's hoping that it's the replacement for After Effects or it's a competitor. But I'm looking at it as, okay, even if it's nothing more than a plugin that replaces my shape layer After Effects usage with now Cavalry, I'm super excited about being able to make stuff and then send it off to After Effects, if I have to, for finishing. They are moving really fast. I mean, there's still a lot of work to do and I don't know if the goal is ever to really honestly make it be as fully-fledged. I don't think Cavalry will ever be a place to do color correction, like using Magic Bullet Looks, or a place where you'd be doing VFX shots for it. But very much in that shape player, animation, combined with how you think of using MoGraph tools in Cinema 4D. This is a studio that built MASH for Maya, and now they're basically taking that same approach for After Effects. It's really, really exciting. They're awesome because their way of working with the beta team, they're super transparent. They're very, very reliant on people beta-testing and giving feedback.
But like you said, they're really good also by not being totally in the dark. They post stuff every once in a while on their Instagram and you're like, what? What is that? How are they doing it? I don't remember After Effects ... and you're like, oh no, this is that new app. It's really exciting.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. EJ, I don't know if you've had a chance to play with it at all or check it out. I mean, I feel like you'd get it pretty quickly because it works similar to Cinema 4D.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. You know, there's always that group of features that we've been like, oh, come on After Effects, add this one thing, add something like MoGraph effectors. I think that if Calvary ... and how long has Calvary been in development for? I'm just looking through their Instagram feed and there's just all these things that are like, yes, this is something that should be super easy to do, but it's not in After Effects. I'm just really, really pushing for them, when they release this to just be a killer. Because I think if they release and it's a flop and it doesn't work as well as we'd hoped for, I think everybody loses. So I'm really pulling for them. I'm really hoping that everything that they're teasing is as easy as it looks and has that same procedural nature as Cinema 4D, because I think there's definitely something there that ... a MoGraph spin-around in Cinema 4D for 10 years. No 2D app has really taken advantage of that, and I hope this is it.
Joey Korenman: I think the good way to think about it is, remember when you first started seeing man versus machine putting stuff out and you're like, how are they doing that in Cinema? You're like, oh, it's stuff from Houdini being brought into Cinema, right? Like, oh, Houdini is like, I can think of it as a plugin to do the stuff that Cinema just can't reach for. Then over the last three, four, five years, people are just migrating over to Houdini to just do stuff in it. I'm hoping that's what's going to happen here. I could use After Effects for everyday stuff, but man, when I got to do cloners and duplicators and offsets, no amount of AE scripts trying to hack it will work in After Effects, but Cavalry will. Then I can send that stuff over to After Effects for whatever I need to do for glows and finishes. I hope it starts off that way. Then it's not like a one-to-one competition so that people aren't just looking at it and saying, nah, that's cool, but it's a gimmick. It's not an After Effects kind of replacement.
EJ Hassenfratz: Right. There's no [inaudible 01:58:05] in it
Joey Korenman: Exactly. Exactly.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I'm excited about it. I think that'll be one to watch again over the next probably two to three years. So we can wrap up the software side of this and then we do have one big hardware thing. Let's talk about it. On the software side, Adobe Aero, is it out? It was announced.
Male speaker: It's out. Yeah.
Male speaker: I'm assuming it's out now. Yeah. It's essentially like an AR authoring tool from Adobe. What I thought was cool about it when they showed it at MAX was just how simple it looks. AR, actually, I mean, even back when I was running Toil ... this was probably six or seven years ago, we were playing with AR, doing stuff for clients, sort of experimenting with how you could mix motion design with AR. It was so complicated to get it to work. It was a pain in the ass. You had to A, figure out how Unity worked and then add plugins to it and then register. Now you just use Aero and you're dragging and dropping things into your scene, and it in the tracking just happens automatically. You don't have to figure out how that works. It's really just democratizing it. I don't know what that turns into exactly, but that's a brand new thing to be able to just easily do that.
Male speaker: Did you get to actually play with it? That's the biggest thing for me is, I need to get my hands on it. Because the demos on stage were super cool, but I wonder what it feels like when you're actually playing with it.
Male speaker: Yeah, I haven't played with it at all.
Male speaker: We actually have a tutorial coming out on School of Motion next week, so we're dropping that out.
EJ Hassenfratz: But I've played around with it many times. Specifically using Cinema 4D, like characters and exporting those out. Now one of the cool things is that if you're not a 3D artist, you can bring in a layered Photoshop file and there's like a little slider where you can actually spread everything out in [Z 01:59:54] space and there's your little AR experience. But it is extremely easy. I did an AR project earlier this year for a company and it was such a pain in the butt. There are certain things about exporting things out to AR, an AR format that was just totally foreign to a 3D artist. Like, when you have an animation it can only be position, scale, rotation. It can't be a point level animation, that just does not translate out. That actually is something about Adobe Aero, they don't have it at a point right now where you can do point level animation, like morphing [message 02:00:33], like that. But it does take skin deformers and stuff like that. Then there's one thing, there's a gotcha about that.
You have to limit the amount of influences of a weight on a [inaudible 02:00:42]. But once you get past that, literally just export out an FBX. As long as it's animated using PSR or a skin deformer with joints, you can import it into Adobe Aero and your animation comes in perfectly. Now, even if you don't have an animated 3D object you can just export a series of objects, a character that's just static, and you can actually apply your own animation to it, like a squash and stretch bounce or a rotation. Or you can even do a motion sketch where you can actually drag your finger on your screen and sketch out and move your character and actually record those as key frames. You can have your character jumping. Actually in the tutorial I have my character jumping over my coffee mug on my desk, which is really, really cool. But it's just so extremely easy to program all that stuff. You can program triggers, whether it's just triggers automatically or it triggers whether you touch your screen. Or if it's a proximity, like you move close enough to it, it triggers that animation.
I think it's one of these things where it'll get me excited about AR, because it does limit that barrier. I think that technological barrier that, Joey, you were saying you experienced when you were at Toil, it just removes all that. So I think it really starts to get people thinking how we can create in that space.
Joey Korenman: Man, so that has me really excited ... I know this is not something people normally say. This has me really excited about Adobe then. Because the combination of that, and then them acquiring the guys behind Substance and essentially saying like, hey, we don't understand 3D. You guys will be kind of charting the way forward for 3D and interactive and experiential. I would love a world where more people have access to real-time 3D tools and AR, to just start using it the same way people essentially used to use Dreamweaver for building websites, right? Where it's just like, oh ... and then Dreamweaver and Squarespace, there's just these easy entryways into something that right now just has so many barriers to entry. Even for people doing 3D right now, a lot of people are scared of it, let alone regular everyday people that just want to try to make something or play around with the tools. Actually I'm kind of getting excited about some of the stuff going on in Adobe now.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I know for a fact that ... I mean, they've been tweeting and emailing people specifically to do a little interview with people that work for the After Effects team, and the whole subject's 3D. So it's well-known and they're really putting the word out that they are focused on 3D in After Effects and just in Adobe in general really, really pushing into that 3D market. So it's going to be really exciting to see what they do, because right now they only have ... what is it, Dimensions? You can only bring in 3D objects and kind of manipulate them. It really doesn't do that much. You can't really animate or anything like that. So it'll be really exciting to see where Adobe is going to be going into 3D space. Hopefully they update some Mixamo stuff. That'll be exciting.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. I was just thinking about how easy you're making this sound, EJ, to use Aero and to create these AR experiences. I know that advertisers and brands have been trying to figure out how to best utilize AR. I was thinking, there has to be some gigantic opportunity out there for motion designers that figure this out, and can show some proof-of-concept stuff to become the AR person in their market. I just Googled, just to see what popped up. AR designer, Los Angeles, because I figured there must be like 100 designers that do AR. There's some companies that do it. I don't see a single individual popping up. I feel like this is one of those things where to me, I'm like, there's a gigantic opportunity here for somebody in Seattle or Portland or Chicago, whatever market you're in, to be the first one to put up a website where you put AR designer as your title, and start going after some ... I mean, gosh, I would email every ad agency in town and show them a bunch of AR stuff you've done.
I think you'd be working every day that you'd want to. It is a rare skill right now. So that's a really exciting area for me.
EJ Hassenfratz: I know a few really good 3D artists that have gotten into the Magic Leap arena. There was one guy and his name escapes me, but he's a really good artist, a really cool AR experience through Magic Leap. I believe it's Magic Leap. If not, someone correct me out there. There's so much programming involved in it, once I found that out I'm just like, yeah, I'm out. If I have to get into coding, then ... and I think that was the barrier before with AR that is now gone with Adobe Aero. There's no coding at all. I think that's where it's exciting to see AR move.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. Yeah. Just democratize it. All right, so the last bit of software news, and we can just touch on this briefly. Ryan, you can take this, because I think this was something you put in there, was just about all the real-time stuff and new technology. Just like there's just all these apps, Notch, Houdini, Oculus Medium, Quill, Unreal, Unity. All of these tools are now being used in motion design in one way or another. Yeah. So what are your thoughts on those tools?
Ryan Summers: I mean, I feel like I'll be a broken record, and I even got called out a little during Camp MoGraph by a couple of people for banging on this drum. The one tool to solve everything hasn't appeared yet. But as the surfaces that we start working on start exploding, and we have the opportunity to make stuff that's way more responsive, way more generative, and way more procedural, I just feel like there's no way that somehow a tool or a couple of tools are not going to come out of this morass of stuff to become the standard for everybody. Just like we're talking about Aero becoming something that's an entry point that's standard for people to start creating real-time work. Right? It may be Unity, it may be Unreal. I mean, Notch is not new. It's been around for a while, but they are definitely starting to push towards more motion design type of work. So I don't know who's going to do it. I don't know if it will be one or another. But man, I just think about one of the major projects I've been working on for the last two years, and 90% of the entire project two years ago was going to be pre-rendered with just a very small component that was going to be real-time. As I started working with more vendors and more teams I started finding a company or two that's like, you know what we can do?
We can make this entire project, including a 21 projector wide projection mapping sequence, we can create everything in real-time and we can just offline pre-render that for you, so that you can just have one PC playing it back versus like some GPU beast machine playing back stuff in real-time. But then for that wall that you have off to the side that needs to be interactive, we'll use those same assets and we'll just run the real-time engine on it. Right? Versus having to employ one team to do pre-rendered, one team to do UI for an app, and another team to do real-time. It makes a lot of sense that as the fidelity starts increasing that you just run everything in real-time and you have like a four or eight GPO machine in the back with a fallback computer next to it running everything. Then the world that you have in terms of experiential just explodes.
If all of a sudden a new sponsor comes in and you had a character that was wearing one costume and then you want it to be wearing a Pepsi sweater, you don't have to go back to the company, have them re-render everything and do it. You have a person on site that's constantly updating or swapping textures. It just feels like, as the world for motion design explodes, real-time is a no-brainer. We just haven't caught up to it yet and haven't started offering it to our clients in mass.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. EJ, I know you've talked about how you feel like getting into Unity and Unreal is going to be more and more appealing to Cinema 4D artists going real-time. Do you have any thoughts on that?
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I think, I mean, until some things native, like EEVEE, that's in Blender, something like that inside of Cinema, what you're going to find is a lot of people doing their ... maybe not doing their finishing in After Effects anymore, as far as 3D artists. Maybe Unreal is now where you dump all of your assets and do your final composites, and that's your finishing little sandbox there. Because you could just get that instant feedback and have all that available to you, and you don't have to wait about rendering. Once we get into trends kind of stuff, that's something I'm really looking forward ... Hopefully in 10 years we don't have to render anymore.
Male speaker: Well, I don't know if you guys have seen it. Have you guys watched The Mandalorian?
Male speaker: Yes.
Male speaker: So many of those shots and sets are literally just giant LED-walled rooms that are running in real-time connected to a camera with sensors, so that you get ... Let's say you have a camera on a boom arm and you start moving it, that wall in the back that's essentially replacing what used to be a green screen has the 3D world on it, generating light. There's a screen above you that has the dome light, the HDRI. You literally rotate the camera and the world rotates with you, creating parallax. An actor no longer is sitting in a green screen box guessing what's going on. They have the real world with CG characters that they're interacting with, that's catching reflections on their sunglasses or on their weapons or their armor. It's all unreal and it's putting people ... there's a great link we can share that showed some of the technology that's going into shows like The Mandalorian. But that stuff is very quickly becoming very accessible for production companies. Motion design you're going to have to fit into that.
Male speaker: Yeah. Gosh, it's so cool.
Male speaker: It's super cool.
Joey Korenman: Okay. All right. We have one more thing, big news and tools we have to get to, because I kind of want to keep talking about that. That's a whole other podcast. So we're talking about real-time. If you're going to have some real-time stuff, you're going to need a very powerful computer. Thank God Apple finally released the new Mac Pro. I know both of you, you're getting out your credit cards as we speak.
Male speaker: I just took out my second mortgage.
Male speaker: Especially you, Ryan. I know you're [crosstalk 02:11:03].
Ryan Summers: Yeah. I got my Cybertruck order in, and then I got my Mac Pro fully loaded right next to it.
Joey Korenman: Yes. I joke around. I am a total Apple fan boy. I've drank the Kool-Aid. Even I look at that and I'm like, okay. You know Nick Campbell, I think he said some really smart things about this. Just in general with the way Apple works, it's obvious that a $52,000 computer with $400 wheels ... isn't the stand that holds the monitor an extra $1000?
Ryan Summers: $1000.
Joey Korenman: I mean, that is not designed for the 3D artist that wants to build their computer from scratch and get out the epoxy to put the CPU. It's not for that person. So of course that person's going to think it's stupid. It's for ... I mean, I don't know, I've heard like an argument that for video editing it is kind of revolutionary. Because it is so powerful that it can edit like 8K streams in real-time with no rendering, all kinds of stuff like that. For a 3D artist, for an After Effects artist ...
Joey Korenman: That, for a 3D artist, for an After Effects artist, you know, you are probably going to get a speed improvement, but it's not going to be worth the Apple tax you will pay on that. But I'd love to hear both of your thoughts on this.
Ryan Summers: EJ, you go first.
EJ Hassenfratz: No, god. Oh.
Joey Korenman: You can play the role of fanboy.
EJ Hassenfratz: You know, it was funny. I was listening to the GSD podcast where they talked all about that just yesterday and I was like, I hope that Nick says that he bought it and he's going to test it out and we'll see where this goes. Just like he tried out the PC for a year. Let's see if he does that. I'm listening and I'm out on my jog and I'm listening and all this stuff. And all of a sudden he's like, he's like, I'm, I don't want to spoil it. But he may or may have, well, I guess I'm going to have to spoil it. Sorry, spoiler alert.
He did not buy one yet. But he did say, hey, you know, I'm, you know, maybe EJ's out there, maybe EJ's, so he, EJ, if you go and buy it, I'm like seriously, like he's going to I'm waiting to see if he's going to be beginning guinea pig.
Ryan Summers: Throwing you under the bus.
EJ Hassenfratz: And actually what I found out is that he wants me to be the guinea pig. So I think if that tells you anything about our view on the new Mac Pro, I think that's it. You know, everyone's like, do you want to do it? Are you going to do it? Cause I don't, you know, you just go ahead and do it and we'll see how that goes.
I don't know, I think one of the major things that's really going to decide whether this is going to be useful for 3D artists or not is when Redshift, when Octane comes out and they support metal, and we get those benchmarks because if, you know, AMD is killing it in the thread rippers in the CPU processing arena, like you can get really cheap processing power with those thread rippers that totally destroy Intel chips and all this other stuff.
So can AMD do that same thing with the graphics cards? Like can they do a really amazing fast GPU that kills the, you know, 2080 from Nvidia and it's like, you know, three quarters of the cost. And I think that if they can do that, if AMD cause they, you know, that's they're dying. They're living and dying with AMD Apple, you know that's what Macs are doing.
So, well, I think it remains to be seen, but I think right now I can't think of a single reason why you would buy a new Mac Pro now with no idea when Redshift or Octane is going to support it. And when it does, what features are going to be available in those versions and then just what are those, what are those benchmarks?
Joey Korenman: Yeah, I mean, I think the hard pill to swallow for a lot of this is, and I, I have no skin in the game. I work on Apple, I've grown up using PCs. Column view is great, but it's not like a thing that's going to kill me whether or not I have it.
I think the big thing that's hard for a lot of this is that, who Apple is saying is a professional doesn't line up to the people who think they are professionals that need an Apple computer. Right? You know, like, $6,000 for a machine that has 32, I think it, wait, what? What am I thinking? Yeah, it was a really small amount of RAM for a $6,000 machine, and then their pro monitor is $5,000 plus another thousand dollars there's no question that the machines are absolutely beautiful. They're stunning. You can kick them out like crazy.
The monitor's wonderful, but at $12,000 entry point to have their pro monitor and their base level entry pro machine, it's hard to believe that you get 32 gigs of RAM. And granted, yes, you can take it out and put new stuff in, but at that point when I'm spending that much money... I think people don't realize, like, the professional, like when you talk about 1.5 terabytes available of memory, like that's a different class of worker that needs a machine like that.
Like if I'm in a company that makes trailers and I have Michael Bay and the producer standing next to me and I have a team of assistant editors in two different rooms all connected to me, and they're screaming at me to get their trailer for Transformers 6 out in the next 12 minutes, I totally understand. I have a system that's fully supported and built on an infrastructure that I don't have to go and build the computer. I know what the parts are. I know when something breaks where to get it fixed, I know how to handle it. That's who those things are made for. Right? But they're not made for the person who's necessarily in their garage or in their studio trying to get some GPU rendered Redshift stuff out by next week for a $20,000 job. Right?
Like, I just don't think that they're built for who the majority of our audience is, where they maybe in the past have been. Right? Like, there was a world where you could get Mac pro and spend three, four or $5,000 on it and you amortize that over eight years, and you feel comfortable doing it.
The Nvidia thing is a huge problem for a lot of us, right? But, like, I still don't think, like no one knows for sure, but even if octane and Redshift are fully supported on metal and Vulcan later, is it going to be that much faster all of a sudden? That warrants spending eight, ten, twelve thousand dollars on a machine versus a, I don't know, three or four thousand dollar PC that you can build now and then upgrade later with the GPUs as they come along, or expand the GPUs?
It's a big conversation that people are getting super excited and super frustrated about. I mean, you can build $140,000 Dell on their website right now. So the one-to-one comparison for like price isn't necessarily the only conversation to be having about it.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, I ,look at it like it's like a Lamborghini. It's like I see one and I'm like, oh my God, I love it. I want one. But I also recognize like, I don't need it and it's kind of silly. Yeah.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, and also driving a Lamborghini in day to day traffic is probably not the most fun experience either.
EJ Hassenfratz: Correct. It's like, I need a Lamborghini that, but I need to go off road a lot to do my job. Well, uh...
Joey Korenman: Right. You have to be, you have to be someone who has the track they can drive a Lamborghini on to warrant going out and getting the Lamborghini.
Ryan Summers: Yeah, this-
Joey Korenman: And I kind of feel like it's a similar thing with this.
Ryan Summers: Yeah, this metaphor actually works fairly well.
EJ Hassenfratz: Nicely done.
Joey Korenman: Well I so-
Ryan Summers: So Joey, how many, how many of you bought, Joey?
Joey Korenman: Yeah, only three. So I ,don't think a lot of studios are going to like invest in a bunch of these. I'm sure, you know, like the reviews I've been reading, it's all like really the only people who will notice a major difference are editors working in a very specific kind of video. For motion designers, there's really no compelling reason. You know-
Ryan Summers: I will say that there is one element that's gotten lost in this whole conversation that is interesting to me. And it's going back to an old way of kind of computing for animation and design, is that that afterburner card that has like a specific slot built for it. Right now, as far as I know, I think only Final Cut pro X is taking advantage of it. But the idea of having a purpose built hardware for software that's built to take advantage of it.
I do think that there's an opportunity where Apple could have an advantage. Because we've seen, we've talked about it earlier, right? Being able to own the hardware, the software, the peripherals, the UI, the UX has made Apple pencil on its very first iteration way better than a Cintiq, and they've increased it, you know, along the way.
If you do have hardware purpose-built, let's say for something like GPU rendering, or let's say something like After Effects or another piece of software that's made to work in tandem with a UI, with an OS, there is a world where we could say, oh wow, there is this advantage. I don't think just throwing a bunch of Radeons in it is the answer, but that afterburner card is something that I'm still a little bit curious about where they go with it going forward.
Joey Korenman: That is actually a fascinating point, Ryan and I didn't know what the afterburner card was and I'm looking at the description. It's a, it's a PCI card that offloads the decoding of Pro Res and Pro Res Raw video codecs in Final Cut Pro X and some other third party applications. It reminds me of, and this will show my age, when I, at my very first job out of college, one of the editors built a machine with an Ice card in it, you remember those?
Ryan Summers: Yeah, exactly.
Joey Korenman: And I bet most people won't know what that is. It's a PCI card that would go in like the old, I think like the G3 Power Macs they used to have, and there were After Effects plugins specifically written to take advantage of that.
Ryan Summers: Yup.
Joey Korenman: It was like the Ice effects blur and the Ice effects glow, and they were way faster than the built in ones.
Ryan Summers: Imagine someone builds, I mean this is me just totally hypothesizing, but you know, like look at something like TurbulenceFD, right?
Joey Korenman: Yup.
EJ Hassenfratz: TurbulenceFD. When it came out and it had the GPU simming capabilities, all of a sudden everybody was doing GPU sims for fire and smoke, right?
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Ryan Summers: What if there's a world where, you know, someone creates a Afterburner based physics simming beast of software that, all of a sudden you can do sims at 10x speed, right? Like I don't know, like X particles. All of a sudden their fire and smoke sims all of a sudden can take advantage of it and tap into it. Then we're talking about a whole different ballgame for some people.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: You know, there's software right now that can't even utilize all the cores of a computer or you know, even Redshift doesn't, you know, only sees certain amount of your graphics card capability, your core, you know CUDA cores, all that good stuff. One thing to note about the graphics card is that in the Mac Pro, is that they have these specifically made for the Mac Pro, these Radeon Pro Vegas that are part of their little modular graphics expansion, architecture MXP stuff that, you know, who knows what those benchmarks will be when Metal is adopted by these third party renders. So I think it's like, I mean in a perfect world if Apple was like, you know what, we are going to blow the pants off of all these Nvidia cards, do you, with AMD. Because I feel like AMD has been kind of poo-pooed for a while now and we've got these thread rippers that everyone's talking about. AMD just, you know, just came out with that kind of stuff.
Can AMD do the same thing with the graphics card arena? So I'm not holding my breath because I'll die 15 times over. When we're talking with Apple. But, you know, may, you know, if we have a long shot here, you know, one in a million chance. Maybe.
So you're saying there's a chance, maybe there will be, you know, some kind of performance that we're not predicting that once it comes out we're like, okay. I mean it's still, you know, you still get that, you know, the, the Apple tax, but you know, it's, it's comparable now. You know. Probably not.
Joey Korenman: I think it's going to be very, it's going to be an interesting year. I, you know, because I think we'll find out the answer to a lot of these questions in 2020 and you know, Redshift will update and then we'll know. And I, for one, am excited.
All right. And now we're going to move into a whole new topic. There's some interesting stuff in here. Industry happenings and trends. And so the first one that I threw on there, it was Sarofsky Labs, which for anyone listening ,that is Sarofsky Studio in Chicago. They have been running these workshops out of their studio. A lot of School of Motion alumni have been attending them and just rave about them. And I know that one in particular has even gotten booked out of going and meeting the team and stuff like that.
And I think it is such a beautiful, amazing example of why motion design is this weird, unique industry where stuff like this is possible. I don't know, maybe in web design this kind of stuff happens too, but like to literally have Erin Sarofsky leading a workshop on, you know, film title design and you can just, you know, pay 100 bucks or whatever it is and show up and spend two days at their studio. That's crazy to me. And it's so awesome. So I just love that trend. And Ryan, you mean you're up in Chicago. I don't know if you've even seen any of them, but I mean, what's, what's your take on all that?
Ryan Summers: I mean, I had a nice long talk with Erin, especially in light of all the stuff that's happened at the company I'm working at. And the labs thing, it's just another one of those moments where it's like, we talked about this with Nate. When you put your name on the front plate of an office and you do business with your own name, it's inherent that your personality is going show up in the work. But I love the fact that someone like Erin, it's in her personality. When you hear about her story and the challenges she had to elevate herself and get through the glass ceiling, it makes perfect sense that she would be the person who opens her doors on weekends and said, hey, come here, take everything I have and learn it and go off on your own. And, you know, elevate and magnify yourself. I think it's awesome.
I'm kind of shocked that more studios don't do this because on top of all of that, I've talked about it before, but Chicago is kind of a difficult place to find new talent, right? It's not, we don't have a great school knocking out motion designers and animators that just has this steady supply of local people. The freelance market, it's pretty thin in terms of, like, medium weight and heavyweight animators and designers. So how do you go and identify those people? It's perfect.
You open your doors, you let them in, you teach them, you show what the culture's like, you get them access to the other designers working there, and then boom, all of a sudden you have a laundry list full of people. Whether it's freelancers or new hires, that you're cultivating, the people you want to work with before you even try to do an interview.
So I think it's brilliant. I think it's incredibly self-serving in the best way possible. And it's just like the genuine emotion that Erin has based on her life experience filtered through to her studio. I think it's, I think it's awesome. I haven't gone to one myself, but I know a lot of people that have, and it's not unlike our bootcamps. It's work. Like you go in and you go do work. It's not just a nice little studio visit. You get some lunch and you watch somebody for an hour, you know, like they want you to go in and actually work on it. But I think it's great.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. I really want to attend one. I think I might, I might try to make a trip up there next year to actually take part in one.
Ryan Summers: Let me know. We'll go together.
Joey Korenman: Hell, yeah.
So this next thing I want to talk about, I'm going to kind of lump a bunch of these together cause just overall, I've just noticed that the whole, you know, in real life meetup thing in our industry has just exploded. And I mean it's always been fairly strong but this year it was just crazy. I mean the NAB MoGraph meetup that we sort of, you know, we sort of head up and we have a bunch of amazing sponsors that help us put that on. That thing, I think we had 450 tickets this year, and those were gone really fast. I think in the first hour there was like, I don't, I don't even know how this really worked because we technically weren't allowed to have that many people, but in the first hour I think we had 500 wristbands given out.
Ryan Summers: Crazy.
Joey Korenman: It was so big and crazy. And this year we're doing it again and it's going to be in a bigger venue because, because we need it. Also, Blend was this year and I mean we could spend an hour-
Ryan Summers: Half Rez.
Joey Korenman: Talking about how amazing Blend and Half Rez... There was Camp MoGraph which was new this year, and every single person who attended told me how amazing it is.
Ryan Summers: Amazing.
Joey Korenman: It's happening again in 2020 in Portland. And then, EJ, I'd love to hear a little bit about the 3D Motion Tour because that was like, I know you weren't on the entire tour, but you did a bunch of dates in Europe and in the US and I mean it is just crazy that I, it's basically like a band going on tour, and it's all motion design and the industry is big enough and open enough where that makes sense to do. So like what was that, what was that tour like?
EJ Hassenfratz: And I think this, I think this really goes back to what I was saying before about just the community that Paul and Matthias and the, Maxon has fostered here in the US is unrivaled by any other software. Any other, like even Adobe doesn't have this type of openness with the community like, like Maxon does, I feel like. Like, you can talk to the CEO at any given time.
Joey Korenman: Right.
EJ Hassenfratz: You can go out and grab drinks with him. Wine specifically. But you can do that at any time. And I think what Matthias and Paul specifically wanted to do is like, give that NAB experience, that SIGGRAPH experience to those people that can never really find the time to make it out. Even students. One of the things that we found a lot is like a lot of students came out to a lot of these, these show dates and you know, specifically like when we're at a, at Ringling, you know, I was telling the students, there was like, you guys got to go to NAB.
And they're like, well, when is it? And I'm like, April, it was like, well, we have class. I was like, okay. Well, but I think one of the things we found is that the people want to tap into this community, wanting to be a part of these events. And the 3D Motion Tour was that thing that really gave that experience to each city. Like, people met people for the first time. People met Nick for the first time, and Andrew Kramer and all that. All that.
Joey Korenman: Andy Claymore.
EJ Hassenfratz: Andy Claymore, yeah. And you know, just giving those experiences to people is just really cool. And it's, there's such a high demand for it. And when we were in Europe specifically, people in Europe have been starved for these kind of events.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: Like we're really spoiled in America as far as all these events go. Like you know, you might have, you know, one or two events in, in Europe, but they're not really Cinema 4D related, it's more general.
But the 3D Motion Tour, every time we were in, every city we went to in Europe, everyone's just like, oh they need to do more of this kind of stuff. Like they're just so starved for these kind of community events.
Like one of the things that is going on here in the US is you're having all of these meetups pop up all over the place. Like MoGraph Monday started out in Detroit and now there's chapters blowing up all over the US. Like I started a meetup here in Denver. And I think what started in Chicago with Half Rez and the Chicago MoGraph meetups and stuff like that is slowly spreading all throughout the country. And it's something that, like maybe outside of London and Paris, you really don't get that experience. So when we're in places like Warsaw, and in Munich and you know, Stockholm, like all these places that in Milan, they don't have these meetups that people can go to.
So it was just really great to, cause you need these big ticket events to bring people out, to have them meet each other to say, you know, oh we need something here. We need something like this in Warsaw. Well here's all the people that are here that are doing that same kind of work in Warsaw. Get, talk to these people, get a little meetup going. And I think people are more and more willing to give advice and help people out as far as how to get their own meetups set up in their own cities. And you're seeing that now, which is really exciting. Like I feel like, even for me that I go to a lot of these events, like I'm always craving more. So I can only imagine what people who have never been to one feel like, you know. It's nice to have something outside of NAB and SIGGRAPH and where we can geek out nerd out over all this 3D MoGraph stuff.
Joey Korenman: Yeah there's a meetup in Detroit that I got to go to once, called MoGraph Mondays, and it was amazing. Like, you know, the organizers,, and I know Julie Craft is one of the organizers and she's kind of, you know probably with some help, from Billy Chitkin and others in Detroit have made this amazing monthly thing. And I've noticed that it's now starting to sort of franchise out and now there's MoGraph Mondays, Boston, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, Baltimore, which I think Liam Clisham is heading up, and he's one of the organizers of camp MoGraph. So I mean, it's kind of, this idea is spreading, actually pretty quickly in the US which is awesome and fantastic. So I don't know, maybe, maybe MoGraph Monday Sarasota coming soon. Someone else plan it please.
Awesome. All right. So I want to talk about, there's a couple other things I just kind of wanted to call out cause I thought that they were, you know, they were just sort of things to note.
One, you mentioned MoChat earlier, I think Ryan.
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: And I think this was, this was the year in March where MoChat sort of shut down and, you know, most people listening may have no idea what MoChat was. MoChat was just a group of artists that every Tuesday would get on Twitter and sort of have a conversation and then they would have guests and you know, people from Adobe and artists and, and people like that. And it sort of shut down. And it was just, I was actually, I wasn't involved in it and I would very rarely actually participate, but I, I was kind of sad when it shut down, because it was one of the few places on Twitter where it was just nice. It's just always nice.
EJ Hassenfratz: Exactly. And I think the insanity of Twitter as it's aged up was also starting to, we were starting to feel the effects of it in MoChat. Like I don't think, MoChat was this awesome idea that the platform for it was never really optimal.
Joey Korenman: Right.
EJ Hassenfratz: Right, like Twitter wasn't the best place to have this like moment in time, live, call and response kind of show. We, I didn't start it but when it did start it was kind of one of the few places, but this is pre Slack, this is pre YouTube Live Streaming, pre lots of people having email newsletters kind of starting conversation. So it felt like there was mograph.net and then that went away. And then for the few people that were in MoChat, like MoChat was this nice little community.
But then as you know, the MDA Slack and mograph.net, all the different Slacks started kind of proliferating everywhere. It's just started slowing down and I think it does kind of signal the whole thing that there's no really, you got to do some work if you want to be in the motion design industry and really understand what's going on. Because, if you go to the MDA Slack, that thing moves at lightning speed, right? It moves fast and it's not permanent. It's temporary. So it's very.
ephemeral, it goes away really quickly. So if you want to feel like you're in it, you got to be in it and make a commitment. And there's definitely people that do. But, for its time, MoChat was the kind of place you would go to find out like what's going on. If there was a controversy, I'll never forget when Christo made the whole brick layer comment and like the next three MoChats were back and forth and then it went to Facebook and then it went back to Mo chat.
So yeah, poor went out for MoChat. But I, I think the spirit is still there. It's just not happening.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: Under that hashtag.
Joey Korenman: Yup. Well there are, there are lots of, of new places popping up every day and in real life meetups and all that.
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: Another thing that I thought it was pretty cool was Greyscalegorilla Plus coming out this year. And, you know, we've gotten to know the Greyscale team pretty well. I mean, you know, I've told Nick before, like he was basically the inspiration for School of Motion and, and watching how he built his company. And I know that going from the model they had to a subscription model was probably really scary, and I'm sure they got blow back for it.
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: But I think in the long run it's going to help Greyscalegorilla just sort of get to that next level and continue to be a resource for many, many years for new Cinema 4D artists. And I mean that's, you know, I learned Cinema 4D from Greyscalegorilla and I'm just really happy to see that, you know, that that company, which is over 10 years old now is, you know, still thriving and innovating and they're not afraid to, to kind of change up their business model and change things around.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. It's great. I mean I love the, there's something cool about it that is very GSG that there's just these surprises that pop up, right? Like they don't tell you six months ahead of time that the everyday materials pack is going to be available if you subscribe. Right? There's this little bit of like Christmas every once in a while there where they're like two days from now get signed onto GSG plus and see what's there.
Like I think it's going to be fun to see it grow. There honestly is a lot of really cool stuff there that's buried away. Like if you are trying to learn fields in Cinema 4D buried away in there, Andy Needham, who's a great instructor, he's done stuff for LinkedIn learning. He has a great little intro to all the new features in R21 but you got to go and find it. And there's something about the platform that kind of just encourages you to kind of search around. That, it fits into their kind of, their ethos, but I'm really excited to see it. I think the intro that they did to Houdini is coming at like the perfect time with just the right person. So yeah, I'm excited to see what other stuff they drop in there for people who are subscribing.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, there's, yeah, just like talking about things that are buried. There's some stuff that Chris Schmidt worked on that specifically a character rigging series that I think he did in R14.
Joey Korenman: Yes.
EJ Hassenfratz: But it's like concepts that are still relevant today and it's something that I think they've been sitting on and they just kind of threw it in to the, to the subscription. So that's-
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: There's a lot of stuff like that. Like all the [inaudible 02:36:24] GSGs are there. And it's like, that alone, there's so much there you could dig into, lot of stuff. And I just really liked that they're kind of tapping into, you know, like Russ Gaultier and you know, all these other talents and Zachary Corzine, like all these people that might not have been known before. They're really highlighting and spotlighting all these really great individual artists and giving them a voice in GSG. So it's not just you're Nick and Chad, it's...
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: Really highlighting all these really great talents.
Ryan Summers: Talk about a place to, like, make a star making turn, right.
EJ Hassenfratz: Right.
Ryan Summers: Like, what a great place for someone to just be like, ah, people don't know who I am. And then all of a sudden, the entire industry has your training in their hands.
Joey Korenman: Well, there was this guy that, that happened to many years ago, I forget his name. EJ, do you remember his name?
EJ Hassenfratz: Pats in pants? Have some pants? Something.
Joey Korenman: His name was EJ shirts and shoes or something?
EJ Hassenfratz: Ah.
Joey Korenman: So there's a couple of, there's a couple other little things I just want to like mention and then, I starred three topics here that I think we, we should talk about for a little bit.
So one, I just want to give a shout out to Devon Ko from 3D For Designers who made her triumphant return to the internet.
Ryan Summers: Yes, yes.
Joey Korenman: She had some pretty scary health problems and, and recently sort of made her comeback. And, you know, it's, it's really great. I, I don't really know her. We've emailed back and forth a little bit and, and we've tried to sort of coordinate some things, but I, just really happy to see a voice like hers in the industry and really glad that she's back and seems to be doing well again.
I have to, I have to say I am a little bummed that Joe Donaldson has left Motionographer. I know Joe pretty well. He lives in Sarasota and so I totally understand, you know, why he made the decision. But I got to say I worry about Motionographer a little bit now. I was really worried when Justin left, which was only, it was only announced I think last year or maybe the beginning of this year. And now, you know, Joe is moving on and they do have someone on, like sort of on deck to take over. I'm not exactly sure who, but you know, I think for me there's just a lot of nostalgia there at Motionographer and I still sort of hold it up on this pillar in my mind and I, I just, I worry because that site had such really, really strong leadership for the past...
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: Decade plus now. So, big shoes to fill and we'll definitely see what happens next year.
I'm at, Ryan, do you have any thoughts on, on the Motionographer thing?
Ryan Summers: I, I just, I have my fingers crossed that it stays vibrant and stays healthy because I do think even more so now than before, when we have all these different places to find stuff in all these different surfaces, that stuff's coming and work is coming out on, and it's coming and going so quickly. We need a site of record.
Joey Korenman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ryan Summers: We need a place that says, even for this podcast, the first place I went to was, go to quickies and let's go back and see what the year was like.
Joey Korenman: Yup.
Ryan Summers: Right? Like, like just go back and, and I do think they've kind of, in the last year, year and a half, they kind of crossed this threshold from just being a collection of cool work to the editorial voice that Joe established and extended to so many people across the industry, whether it was someone like you, you know, so many different people have done editorials.
There's still those moments when you get the email or you go to the site and they're like, oh, on that left hand side, there's a new big column. It does kind of, like, stop the industry for a second to stop and think.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Ryan Summers: And I think we, we absolutely need that. Every other creative industry has the site of record. Even as like something like art of the title starts to slow down. And that was only one small portion of the industry. I think it's even more important now that that place stays alive and stays vibrant. And it's important that it's a place that's not connected to someone selling a product at the same time. Like,
I think we do a great job. I think GSG does a great job. I think tons of people do great things. But the thing that was really cool about Motionographer was that there was never a pitch at the end of it. Right? There was never a, and by the way, we've got a Motionographer producing for motion design class. Like, I think it's great that we all do it, but I think we need that space. That's just, here's where we are, here's what we're doing, here's the questions we need to ask ourselves.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, I've had, I've had long conversations with Joe about sort of the, philosophically like the difference between, you know, a School of Motion article and a Motionographer article. And they're two different beasts and, you know, and it takes, I mean, you know, when Justin sort of stopped writing for the site, I was like, oh my God, who could possibly-
Ryan Summers: Exactly.
Joey Korenman: Cause he's just one of the smartest people I've ever met and just really brilliant and engaged. And Joe is the second coming of Justin Cone. So I do know that Joe is excited to now have more time to run miles, which is something he does a lot.
Ryan Summers: I just imagine he's like Forrest Gump. Like he's just, he's going to put the hat on, he's going to grow the beard out and he's just going to run across the country.
Joey Korenman: I don't know if he can grow a beard. I've never, never seen that. We'll have to...
Ryan Summers: Now's the time to find out.
Joey Korenman: We'll have to find out.
All right, so there's three kind of big topics and we'll see, cause we've been talking a lot but we'll, we'll see if we can sort of jog through these. One I know you won't really have much to say about, Ryan, is a bunch of studios that have been around for a long time shut down. Another one was just announced. A motion picture company's Vancouver office closing. Imaginary Force's New York office, Legwork in Denver, and the place where you have been, showing up and getting a paycheck for the past a two years. Digital Kitchen Chicago and Seattle are closing.
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: And yeah, DK Chicago. That was, that kind of hit me hard too. Cause that's another, it's one of those institutions. But yeah, like what's, what the hell is going on?
Ryan Summers: I mean I feel like this is where our editors should just insert my prediction from last year where I said, half of the companies, you know and love will be closed by the time I do this next year.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Ryan Summers: I wasn't, I wasn't expecting it to be the place I was working at. I think it's a natural order of things. It's just to have these larger institutional voices all kind of closing at the same time feels weird. It just feels strange. But I think it's tied to all the stuff we talked about earlier. Right? Like the industry's widening at the same time that it's deepening and there's these additional, I hate using these, these terms, but additional verticals that are started the, like expected of us, right?
Like when we pitch something and we pitch a rebrand for a shopping mall, they're also asking us, hey, do you have any experiential ideas and could you make these really big screens? And by the way, do you think you could help us with an app? And we also would love it to be real time, but could you also add some social listening? So our social media team can be tied into that?
Joey Korenman: Right.
Ryan Summers: There's not many companies that can absorb all of that and also do all the motion design.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Ryan Summers: And even in my time here, in the three years I saw very quickly go from a company, that called itself an agency, but really was still doing production. The best example, I'm standing in the studio right now, there were 35 people here three years ago, and there's four here today. And only one of those is an artist.
It happens fairly fast and I think it's affecting other, the industry pretty quickly. But the other thing you forget about is that all of these studios that started that you know and love, they started before there was anybody doing this. And they started most of the times by people that weren't business people. So when they had these huge successes and they had all the money coming in and there only eight places that could do this work, a lot of bad behavior kind of got built into that.
A lot of bad bookkeeping, a lot of bad dealing with overhead. Probably deals for studio space, got out of control, and there's no way to unwind that. You can't get smaller when you have those kind of overhead issues kind of as a factor.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Ryan Summers: And also, I would argue the biggest thing about any of this stuff is that when, when a company that does creative work suddenly no longer prioritizes the creative voice first, there's no real reason to stay open anymore. And sometimes that happens quickly and sometimes it takes years because there's just the momentum of the work that came behind it. But I do think when you look at some places, when people leave or people go to make their own companies because of a bunch of different reasons, that's when a lot of places shut down.
And honestly, even when I first came here at Digital Kitchen, it wasn't the Digital Kitchen I knew a year before that when I came here to freelance, it was already undergoing radical changes.
So I, at the same time, it's a bummer, but at the same time, look how many other small studios and look at something like Box Fort Collective in Detroit. We've talked about Detroit a lot, but something about as small and as almost individual as you can make it. A bunch of people working in a room together in cheap office space in a city that everybody thought was dead. And then in a short amount of time, look at the Half Rez titles. Like we didn't really talk about them that much because Blend happened at the same time. But the Half Rez titles that something like Box Fort Collective made, is kind of astounding. And to be totally honest, the DK that I'm sitting at right now, as we're, you know, getting ready to close in a few weeks, the full sum total of the three offices of DK couldn't have achieved what Box Fort Collective on their own achieved. And I think that's-
Ryan Summers: ... wouldn't have achieved what Boxfort Collective on their own achieved. I think that's the best way to explain what's going on in the industry right now.
Joey Korenman: I think that little story you just told sums up the industry's trajectory. It used to take all of this stuff to do it, and now it doesn't take anything. It takes, what did we figure out? 120 bucks a month and talent, right? That's the expensive part. Once you have the talent and you have the drive, it's not free but it's pretty close to it. To have the capability of putting together something like those Boxfort Half Rez titles, which are incredible. We'll definitely link to those in the show notes as well.
The question I had for you Ryan is, I know that for you it's right in your face right now, because you're at DK. DK is closing. It's sometimes easy to draw the wrong conclusion. Is it a macro trend that's causing that or is it a micro thing, where maybe there was some financing thing that was done ten years ago that came back to bite them in the butt? Do you think that there's a macro trend here, or is this all just companies maybe had good years and didn't set things up to survive when they weren't good years?
Ryan Summers: Can I say both?
Joey Korenman: Sure.
Ryan Summers: In some ways, every single company when they close, it's its own unique story. I don't know the exact reason, but I can pretty much guess why IF New York had to probably close. The reasons for that are very different from the reasons DK ended up having all the things happen to it that it did. I will say, I think the industry's going, essentially one of three ways. You're either going to be a 15 person or smaller shop and be happy with that, and then create partnerships if you ever want to do something larger.
Our time at Camp Mograph, I think EJ, it helped really eliminate what studios the size of Sarofsky or Barton Damer's Already Been Chewed can do with a really tight group of 10 to 15 people that show up to work every single day. That has been handpicked by a creative, leading a team full of people that do the kind of work they want to do and they don't take any other kind of work, or something like Boxfort, that scale.
It's really hard to go from 15 to 20. You kind of have to go from 15 to 40, because the numbers that start increasing in terms of, now I need to support a whole other type of overhead because I have to bring in more work, because I have more people. I have to have a larger space. I have to have sales reps. I have to have more producers. It's really difficult ... I would say it's very easy to make the mistake of saying, "I'm doing x amount of money with 15, I'll do 2x or 3x with 20 or 30." It doesn't scale linear whatsoever.
Joey Korenman: Correct.
Ryan Summers: The other thing you have to do is, then you almost have to either become Buck where you have a factory full of lots of people doing a lot of work you never publicize or take credit for, to fuel the engine for a Goodreads or something like that, or something like Hue and Cry's Into the Fire. Or you start becoming more like an agency. Not a traditional agency where I'm talking about ad buys, but you essentially have four to six-person teams within your main team and they have areas of expertise.
You have your social media team, you have your development team, your experiential guys and your motion designers. They all compliment each other, but they're almost like separate business units? That's totally different than just being a couple of people in a room doing motion design. I feel like that, it's almost like we're spreading the industry to the top and to the bottom in terms of scale. There's not a lot in the middle, in terms of let's have a 30-person team or a 50-person team or have three offices, but they're only 10 people each. It's really hard to make that work right now.
Joey Korenman: EJ, I'm curious because you're in Denver and you know the Legwork guys. I'm curious. The reason that Legwork closed is a totally different reason than the reason DK's closing. There's actually a great article on Motionographer about it. What is the effect of that on a city like Denver to have a studio like that close?
EJ Hassenfratz: Legwork was one of the biggest, one of the most well known, one of the most respected. They were the studio that if you lived in Denver, you wanted to work there because just the unique talents they had there. One of the art directors, Aaron, he's so amazing as an illustrator and an animator. That punk skateboard aesthetic was, the three guys, they all knew each other from going to school together. They're into all the punk music and stuff like that, so that was the aesthetic.
They always tried to stay true to that. I think what's actually pretty admirable about Legwork closing is that they stepped back and realized that where they were going, where clients were taking them was not true to what they started Legwork to be in the first place so they just kind of folded up. I think, maybe that's why a lot of bigger studios fail way later on is because they find that you just show up at work one day and you're just like, "What the hell am I doing? I don't even like this anymore."
Who knows how many studios have been existing like that for years and years and years? One of the things that Legwork did was they really helped foster a community here, and that still lives on today. Some of the people that were heads of the studio, they're working at the other studios now. They got absorbed. They're still here and they're still really pushing the creative community here in Denver. It's really interesting.
I think one other thing that's very interesting about what we're talking about now is, these big studios, small studios. You go back and think about what we were just talking about, about the studios that stood out. The reels, the people, and the artists that we were really inspired by and impressed with, I think a majority of them were one or two person teams, individuals. Very small studios and I love that.
I love that when Boxfort does something like they did and Gunner does titles for Blend, they show that, and especially living in Denver. I love the fact that we have our own little community here in Denver. It's not crazy like LA where you could go and live in LA for 10 years and never go to a single meetup. Never really hang out with people in the industry. Here in Denver, and I'm sure it's the same in Detroit, it's such a tight knit community. Everyone's very collaborative.
Legwork was right across, a block away from another studio called Spillt, which is the biggest studio in Denver. They knew each other, they're friends. It wasn't cut throat. Very collaborative. In fact, one of the old owners of Legwork is now working at Spillt, I believe. I just love seeing the decentralization of the coasts because I had my ... In my career early on I was like, "Okay, I need to make it. I need to go to New York or LA to make it."
How much are our, and I'm sure for some people this is true, maybe not for others. How much is your creativity suffering because of the fact that you're worried about how am I going to pay for rent? How much does that take away? How much does that take away from just doing experiences in that city when you're worried about, you can't afford this thing because you're trying to hustle and make it happen in one of these big cities?
Joey Korenman: I recently had James Ramirez on the podcast.
Ryan Summers: Awesome.
Joey Korenman: His episode comes out next year. He spent a lot of time in Kansas City before he went to LA. He was ahead of the curve there, because that was back before you were able to be really successful in the Midwest. Although he was at mk12, so it was kind of like the anomaly. I agree with you, EJ. That's just a trend that I've been really excited to see. I think Gunner is probably the best example now of proving that you don't have to be on the coasts. Legwork was a great example, and there's others out there too.
All right. Again, I think it's going to be interesting. 2020 I bet we see some more of this happening. Again, Ordinary Folk is currently, I want to say four people. I definitely see that trend. All right. Two more trends slash, things I want to call out. One, we talked about this last year and it's been a theme that's come up a bunch. That's this trend of tech companies scooping up motion designers for crazy big bucks. That creates all kinds of pressure. I think Ryan, you probably would know. Is it Michelle Dougherty that moved on to ...
Ryan Summers: She's at Apple.
Joey Korenman: At Apple. I actually think it's wonderful that these opportunities exist. I do see the downside for studios, when IF can't pay you what Apple can pay you. I'm not quite sure how to feel about it to be honest, because on the one hand, the people I'm most concerned for are the motion designers, are students and alumni, what opportunities are out there for them. The idea that you can go work at Google and essentially have a 9:00 to 5:00 job where you're making 160 a year plus insane benefits on up, to 200K plus.
That's incredible. On the other hand, I know that will create pressure in other ways that could harm the overall creative atmosphere. It could hurt studios that rely on being able to find talent early in their career, and all that kind of stuff. As someone on the front lines of that, as you have been for the last couple of years, what do you think about all that?
Ryan Summers: I feel like I'm as front line as you can get. I've had conversations with several companies before I made my decision to join School of Motion, and Apple was one of them. It's really interesting. I feel like A, there's only so many of these large tech companies that will be able to sustain things like this. When you make a decision to go to work for a company like Uber or Lyft or Slack or Facebook, some of them are going to be here, some of them are going to sell out.
Some of them will not be able to maintain the burn that they're currently maintaining. A company like Apple, you can. That's something to think about is that 150, 164 beans they sell a rank and file a motion designer, that's not going to happen if you hop back out of that world. There's a lot of individual things you have to think of when you make that decision. It's not a straight career arc, in terms of salary or potential benefits.
The other thing that I'm finding that's really interesting I think is that, it also is putting a damper on experienced creative directors or senior motion designers leaving a company and starting their own company. In any other world before we had this VC funded, whether it's a bubble or not, app driven tech economy, someone like a Michelle Dougherty would leave Imaginary Forces for whatever reason they might want to leave.
The creative's not fulfilling them. They're not getting enough of a cut of the work they bring in. They have enough other clients that they can start their own thing. They would go, they'd go two blocks down the street and they'd start their own shop. That's the history of Digital Kitchen and places like Imaginary Forces, that so many shops were born from that one place for that very reason. You're not seeing a lot of that.
What ends up happening, and this was literally a warning I got from the Apple recruiter as I talked to him, that they warned me and said, "Hey. It sounds like you move very quickly in your current position. You may want this as an advantage. It may actually make you not want to work here, but things move in order of magnitude slower here." The amount of decision making, the amount of middle management that has to ... The recruiter told me that on the first interview.
That's pretty amazing. I'm not ready to ... I feel like some people are looking at this as, this is almost early retirement. It's not that they aren't working and they aren't learning, but it's a totally different speed. It's a totally different environment. It's a totally different thing that for some people, you just started a family. You're ready to just, I wouldn't say go into autopilot but have a different type of intensity or a different type of workday?
Joey Korenman: Totally.
Ryan Summers: It's perfect. It's awesome, but I do think it's not unlike what's happening in the visual effects world. It is creating a little bit of a brain drain at the high level of the motion design industry that we have never seen before. I don't know what that's going to do. Does it just open up more places and more people to make those leaps into their own companies? Probably, but I don't know. I think maybe that's why we're starting to see Boxfort Collectives and Gunners level up so quickly.
Joey Korenman: The thing is, you also have to remember that if you're working at Google and they're paying you 160, your rent is also three times what it would be.
Ryan Summers: That was a big part of my decision making process, to be totally honest. The trick to play would be is if you could find a way to work at one of these tech companies and either work remotely or find an office that's in a place like Chicago or Austin or Detroit, and make a comparable level of money as to what my friends that are working in San Francisco are making but not be paying 3500, $4000 a month for an apartment.
Joey Korenman: I've been hearing, mostly from the After Effects side, there's a ton of work in that space.
Ryan Summers: There's a lot.
Joey Korenman: EJ, I know you've gone. You've visited Facebook and Apple. You've actually gone and spoken at some of those companies. How are those companies using 3D? Is that area growing too?
EJ Hassenfratz: It's crazy because I know a few people at Apple, I know Handel Eugene just started at Apple. He's been freelancing there for a while, but I think he's going full time. Facebook, very little 3D. I know someone there that brought me in to help train their team. I know they're doing a lot of AR stuff now. I think one of the crazy things about San Francisco, the Bay area in general is, I remember 10 years ago when I was still working for news stations. There was a news station out there that, because I always loved San Francisco. There was a news station out there that I wanted to apply to.
I went out there, and number one, they would've paid me crap. I couldn't have been able to afford 70K in San Francisco. I wouldn't be able to even afford a cardboard box on a street corner back then. One of the things that I find is really cool, now at least for motion designers, that motion design was not really a big, in demand thing in Silicon Valley the past, maybe five years ago? Six years ago? I feel like now those opportunities are spreading. One of the guys that I was talking to at Facebook is like, "Illustration is huge now." Every big company there, every big tech company wants their illustrator, their main illustrator to do that type of work. I think you can see that in Dropbox, in-
Joey Korenman: Apple.
EJ Hassenfratz: [crosstalk 03:00:03] stuff. There's these major players that are being hired from all over there. It's just amazing illustrators. I don't know. I've never worked at a studio before because of the fact that, from the outside looking in, it just looks like a horrible existence from some of the friends that I've had there. They were just always burned out, they could never hang out. I've just gotten a negative view on a lot of studios.
Again, from the outside looking in is, there's a reason why everyone's flocking to freelance. There's a reason why people need a break and want to go to these tech companies. There's a reason why people are going in-house. It doesn't even have to be big tech companies. I know a buddy that's been freelancing for a long time for a lot of studios, and he's just tired of the grind. Why is the grind existence, why is it necessary every single job?
I think something drastically needs to change in this industry where the studios aren't just cranking through all this young talent and the people that are so driven, they go to the point of exhaustion and then have this career crisis where they have to rethink what they want to do in their career. I think that's a very unhealthy, unsustainable way to run an industry. Hopefully, we see some changes here with that brain drain because something's got to give.
Joey Korenman: My next topic, maybe this is part of the answer. I don't know. See, I could literally just talk about that topic for three hours. Let's just make a 10 hour podcast here. The other thing that, and I feel this more than I've actually heard people talk about it. I have talked about it on the podcast and I've talked about it with the industry, but it just seems, it's a gut feeling and I don't know where it's coming from. It seems like finally, remote freelancing and even remote full-time is being way more accepted by studios.
I know that there's studios like IV and I guess, the big example I've always heard that Buck is really hard to freelance remotely for. I don't know for sure, but I doubt that they have any or very many full-time employees that are not coming to an office every day. There's lots of other studios that are now half remote, and even with full-time employees. As someone that works for a fully remote company, nobody is in the same room when we're working, it just seems so obvious to me that this is the future of work.
I'm really happy to see that our industry seems to be catching on, because now you can get an artist and I don't know. We can be really transparent. I don't know for sure Ryan, but I'm assuming Apple could pay you more than School of Motion, but you would be going in. You'd have to move your whole family there. That's a huge factor. I think that is one of the main reasons people flock to freelance and move is because they feel stuck.
They feel like they don't have the options to live their life the way they'd like. That's kind of a thing everyone's aware of now. That your life isn't just on a train tracks. You can pick and choose how you'd like to live and where and how, what hours you work, when you're most creative and all of that stuff. Companies are getting savvy to it. I'm starting to see that it's becoming more mainstream in motion design. I'm curious, you were Creative Director and you still are at DK for another few weeks. How was DK with remote freelancing?
Ryan Summers: It's a great question. Three years ago, when I started here, I have talked about it so many times on podcasts. I had two freelancers that worked on this giant project with me and they're incredible to work remote. We were working with Slack and Frame.io and all the tools we all talk about, but their communication skills made it feel like I was literally sitting next to them. It was two things. They were incredibly thorough and prepared when I talked to them, but they also knew how and when to reach out to me.
They weren't constantly pinging all the time. They weren't too chatty, but when they were talking, they knew how to be super focused. It's not even just the tools that are getting better, but I think freelancers are getting smarter. After that large project, I went to DK in the first six months and said, "Hey. We're having a hard time finding people in Chicago. It's really difficult to convince people to move here, especially when it's approaching winter, and our winters seem to last six months since I moved back. How about we take these trusted partners that have been working on it, let's make them remote staff?"
"We might even be able to convince them to come for a little bit less knowing that we're allowing them to be remote." We'd get them at a deal. They absolutely said no. At all. Not interested. "How do we check on them? How will we know for sure they're not double dipping?" All the typical, larger studio paranoia. Two years later go by. We have a hard time finding people because it's a tough market. We're not paying salary-wise, rates that are beating out Apple or Facebook or any of the other studios that are opening up around here.
They came to me and said, "Hey, do you know those guys? Do you think they'd want to go staff?" Over the course of two years our company, which I think is very conservative, completely flipped 100%. Granted, it didn't happen for a bunch of different reasons including the fact that we're closing up shop, but I feel like you're going to see more and more them. I think it's going to happen faster with studios starting up just being remote, and then companies will slowly start seeing that and start taking advantage of it.
You guys, I've been amazed in the few weeks since I've been starting to get integrated into the system. There are so many tools, apps and resources for starting your own company and managing and maintaining that company remote. It's just going to get faster. They're just going to get better. They're going to get cheaper. Things are going to become way more accessible. I don't see why it can't happen. My only caveat with it, and I hope it's something we do at School of Motion, is that it's a very distinct psychological choice to work remotely, either from a home or from an office.
I feel like, you said it earlier. I think that's why we're seeing the explosion of MoGraph Meetups, in person? Whether they're geographical or they're ones that, big events that people fly to, I think psychologically there's going to be a huge need in our industry for, whether they're "tools" in quotes or not, ways for people to come to terms with what that means day to day. Not sitting next to eight different people, not being able to go to lunch, not building relationships where you can go after work to go and do things. That could be the missing part that somebody may be able to figure out and turn into a tool for all of us.
Joey Korenman: I know EJ, you've been talking about the importance of that, and that you're really excited to put some thoughts and effort into that.
EJ Hassenfratz: I really get part of the community. I'm really excited to have Ryan on here too. I've talked this a lot at these meetups too, is just that psychological thing where, I'm fine being at home all the time. My dog near me, I have my routines and Joey actually, we were talking about this in that Q&A at Ringling. Just building those routines. You really have to be very disciplined to get your crap done when you're working at home and you don't have someone always hounding you or something like that.
It's also, you need those creative outlets as well. I get, and sometimes I even look back in my career, did I miss out on huge career growth by not being at a studio for a couple of years? Because I feel like that's the thing. You go to a studio for a couple of years, put in your time. Get all that growth, get all that experience, get out. Then you can do freelance, do your own thing and do the remote freelancing kind of deal.
More and more, I'm seeing people work from home. If they find they need that outlet, they'll do a shared working space or whatever they can do to bridge that gap. Whether it's, are you creating a local meetup? That's what I do. Every month, I know I can count on getting that creative energy from like-minded folks by attending these kind of events. That's extremely important. An introvert, extrovert kind of person so I'm totally cool being at home by myself, not talking to anyone other than my dog for most of the day. A lot of people aren't like that.
Ryan Summers: Honestly that's what I'm super excited to see how we can, because I think we're a great at School of Motion we'll be a great test case and a cool testing bed for ideas like that. I think about, as a Creative Director, what would the challenges be working with a fully distributed production team? The two things I can think about all the time are, how do we make sure there's some sense of unique culture and then how do I as a Creative Director, how can I be the most efficient with people but also respect their creative output?
We were just talking about it. I can't remember the name of it. There used to be an app where you could all log in, or a website. You could all log in and it was essentially a shared playlist that would get, I can't remember the name of it. It was Round Table or something. It was so cool to work at an office when I was at, I think it was at Royale or IF where people in New York and people in Chicago were both just, something as silly as all listening to the same soundtrack at the same time.
On Slack someone or on a messaging app, somebody would be like, "Oh man, fast forward," or, "I love this song. Play it again." It sounds so dumb, but just that shared experience. We're even talking here at DK trying to see if we could jury rig something where our six different freelancers, we could literally using Twitch create multiple streams where we're just seeing everyone's screens for the whole work day. Not as a way for me to be like, "Are you working or not?"
For me to capture those happy accidents that you have in the studio. You walk by and someone's looking at something on Pinterest. You're like, "Whoa, what is that? I need you to send that over to Jeff." Just having this switchboard of saying ... The other big thing that happens with remote is that you lose opportunities to get iterations as a Creative Director working with people. If you have a check-in once a day or you have a check-in every two days, if I walk up and I could see an artist doing something that, I just got feedback on a call that they weren't on.
I'm getting ready to send an email or bring the team in, I can stop and course correct. I can be inspired by something and then send it to the whole team. That's why I keep on saying there might be tools that help both the culture and the creativity of a remotely distributed team work just a little bit better, have a little bit more fun, and be a little bit more efficient that, it's not out there yet but I can see how it could get stitched together.
Joey Korenman: That's the piece that hasn't really been solved yet? It probably has, to be honest. There's lots and lots and lots of screen-sharing tools out there where, with one click and then another click, you're now looking at someone's screen. You have a second mouse pointer where you can draw on their screen and point stuff out, you can talk to each other and still see each other's faces.
It's never going to be as good as being right there, but in my experience it just takes a lot more project management to make it work. Once you figure all that out, and I have a lot of friends that run remote businesses. Essentially the way we all feel is, there are trade offs. There's no question, but we feel that the pros outweigh the cons. Even with those pretty big cons like you're mentioning. Running a studio is very different than what we do at School of Motion in a lot of ways, but I feel like it works.
Ordinary Folk, most of the people that worked on that Manifesto video were not in Vancouver. You know what I'm saying? Clearly there's a way to do it, and it can scale. You can have Mattias Lucien living in Vietnam, charging his day rate like you would here and not having to work as much. Maybe being able to be a little more picky about which jobs he takes, and stuff like that. I'm really excited about all of that. With that, we're going to move into the next category, which is visual trends.
Luckily, there's not as many bullet points in this one. This one actually, to be honest, was kind of hard for me to figure out because all of the work that I saw that stood out was so different this year. There were some things that I think, "Maybe that is a trend. I feel like I'm seeing a lot of that now." One thing, so I'll just call out the things that looked obvious to me. One is the Greyscalegorilla texture pack look. You know what I'm saying? Where it's balls rolling through grooves and wood textures.
Ryan Summers: Oh boy. There's a little bit of controversy with that one.
Joey Korenman: Was it? That Giant Ant did a piece for Slack and then it was ...
Ryan Summers: Someone kind of copied it, but Tendril before that had set the ... It's a good separate discussion about that visual echo chamber we live in right now.
Joey Korenman: That was definitely a trend that I noticed. I can't remember if this trend started last year or if it peaked this year, was the using noise as a texture?
Ryan Summers: That's been on for a while.
Joey Korenman: I know it has, but now it's, I think what happened is finally there are two or three really good tutorials on YouTube about how to do it. Now it's everywhere. Gradients seem to be really hot, and I think Ordinary Folk are definitely partially responsible for that. Then there were a couple of, I call this throwbacky stuff. Ariel Costa, Allen Laseter, the stuff Nol has been doing. A lot of that stuff, it has echoes of the '60s, the '70s, the '80s. It's starting to feel, you can feel the mk12 bubbling back up a little bit.
That quirky, weird, retro. Especially, I think I've noticed that with music choices that people are using. I think Stranger Things basically just made the '80s cool again, officially. Now everything has synths and Moogs and 808s. There's a couple of other things. There's one I really want to spend some time talking about. The other one that, it just sort of occurred to me is that there's still a lot of 12 frames a second just for the sake of making it 12 frames a second. Which I think is cool.
It's kind of like the instant, "It isn't quite working yet. Let me just make it 12 frames a second. There we go." It just kind of gives it that feel. It is interesting though, to think that 99% of what we produce ends up on the internet now, not on TV. Frame rates you'd think maybe wouldn't really matter, and you could have any frame rate you want. Maybe someone's animating at 8 and someone's at 60. That's not really the case. I'm not seeing it. I'm seeing 12, 24, 25 and 30. Occasionally 60. If you're showing off some app animation you did, or something.
Ryan Summers: I think the counter to that or, hold on. That's talking about frame rate, right?
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Ryan Summers: I'm still waiting to see it fully hit, but I feel like the Into the Spiderverse effect is coming, where that's frame rate. In terms of timing and spacing, like texture timing where people are doing really long holds. Not stop motiony holds, but old school 2D animation. Not because they're trying to cheap out, but they're trying to do it for effect. I feel like that's coming. That train's going to hit soon.
Joey Korenman: Some of that, Yaniv Fridman. Some of that stuff, it had a little bit of that where it's on twos, but not everything's on the same two.
Ryan Summers: Exactly.
Joey Korenman: It gives it a weird, it gives it a cool feel.
Ryan Summers: It's texture. It's not visual texture, but it's timing texture.
Joey Korenman: Those are just the superficial things that I've noticed. The big one is, illustrators moving to 3D and taking that illustrated look and translating it into 3D. To be honest, as someone who hasn't been doing 3D day-to-day for a while, I'm not even quite sure where that came from or how they're doing it because it seems like such a different art form. EJ, I'm curious. What do you think is driving that?
EJ Hassenfratz: I'm not sure. It's definitely these more traditional 2D studios. Gunner was primarily 2D. I would have considered them a 2D studio before they did the Blend titles. Ordinary Folk, definitely. Jorge, he's been doing 2D for forever. He's one of the best animators on the planet. I think once you start to see that trend of all these top animators slowly moving to 3D to add a little bit more to their animations, that's when you start getting other illustrators moving to that, as well.
I'm not sure if it's also game design? Video games? I know a lot of indie gamer, indie game design people moving to 3D as well. I think that's really driving it, but I think it's for the better because I think 3D has been dominated by, especially recently, these very moody dark landscape, abstract.
Joey Korenman: Astronauts.
EJ Hassenfratz: Spaceman stuff. I've always been on the side of colorful, more abstract 3D stuff and fun characters. I feel like because you have this influx of After Effects animators delving into 3D, you're also getting really sickly done 3D animation. It's not all MoGraphy stuff. You're starting to see a little bit more stylistic, organic looking animations and even that mix of-
EJ Hassenfratz: Stylistic, organic-looking animations and even that mix of 2D and 3D is really exciting. I like paying attention to colors, just very bright colors, very illustrative even though it's in 3D I love it and I'm really inspired by that kind of stuff.
Ryan Summers: I think, for me, you got really close to nailing the reasons why. I think it's 50%, maybe more than that, at least half frustration with the current tool set so you start seeing people being like, "Man I hate Animating Cameras and After Effects. Oh, Cinema 4D's free, let me try it." And then as they start doing it, it's like, "Oh, I wonder what it's like to make shape layers in Cinema 4D," and then like, "Oh, it's that easy? And the animating tools are stronger and I have all these modifiers and I have MoGraph?"
I think once people get over the hurdle of it's 3D and they just start seeing how easy Cinema 4D is to use. And then I think the other half is stuff like your class, or stuff like Devon. The accessibility to training aimed at people who have never touched 3D but with a design sensibility with clear outcomes.
I think those two things. Frustrated with After Effects because it has been a difficult couple of years with development and then like people are just putting out training that makes more sense for the people that are making that leap.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I think like some of my most-watched tutorials are my Sketch and Toon ones because you show how easy it is to build something in 3D and you don't have to fake parallax. I don't need joysticks and sliders and this complex rig and I don't understand the obsession with showing how complicated something so simple is. I don't get it. Like, it's literally a rotation key frame to move ahead and have that parallax. You're really just showing how inefficient you are. I don't know.
We were talking about this when we were down in Florida with David Brodeur and stuff like that. And I think it's funny because the people that go through Cinema 4D Basecamp, they're primarily After Effects artists, never touched 3D. And you see, people go through this progression of like, "I hate animating in Cinema 4D, it doesn't make any sense. Where's the speed graph, where's all this stuff."
And then towards the end of the course everyone's like, "Oh my god I can't believe I've been animating raw... Like it's so much easier to animate in Cinema 4D. I actually prefer to animate in Cinema 4D, I don't need the speed graph." I think a lot of people that have never touched 3D before don't actually understand that there is no speed graph in Cinema 4D and somehow people have been animating very well inside of 3D without it.
Ryan Summers: I mean that's why Zach made Flow. I remember Zach hitting me up because I kept complaining about the curve editor in After Effects, why isn't it more like Cinema 4D, and he's like, "What can we do to make it more like it?" And then whatever it was, six months later we had Flow to make it try to be more like it.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, and like sort it that, I developed with a developer that basically takes Cinema 4D layer system and layer groups and puts it in After Effects. There's so many things that are in Cinema 4D, like MoGraph tools that everyone's clamoring for in After Effects and I think it's just gotten to the point where it's like, "Okay, this is not coming so we're going to learn Cinema 4D then."
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: Exactly, yeah. Ryan, were there any other visual trends you noticed?
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
Joey Korenman: I mean I'm looking at my list again, I feel like I definitely noticed those things but they're kind of superficial and I felt like last year there was sort of a more concrete thing that we settled on.
Ryan Summers: Yeah, I've got one that, I see it all over in print design, and it's making it's way... I think I linked to this, [Bangen Olufson 03:21:31] piece that kind of encapsulates a lot of the design trends that are making its way into motion design. But a lot of it has to do with type and a lot of it is based on this whole idea of variable type, like being able to have a type that can stretch and can bend and it's not something that's supported yet in After Effects so it's not easy, it's a lot of manual labor. But it's the whole idea of being able to say like, let's say you have the word Nike and then all of a sudden the "e" stretches really really quickly, wide on the horizontal but then the other letters shrink down to take up the same amount of space that it had before.
I've seen that a lot, and again, like that's not super-easy yet but I will guarantee in less than a year there'll either be... After Effects will support variable type or there'll be an A-script thing that makes it super easy-
Joey Korenman: That's a good call, yeah.
Ryan Summers: ... And then we'll be sick of it. But then also with type, I see a lot of just stroked repeated text where you'll see the letter just in a large, like Gotham or Helvetica, large kind of San Serif font full and then you see it with the stroke off and then you see it with just the stroke and then it gets repeated a bunch of times. And then just taking imagery and scaling and inserting and scaling and inserting, like this kind of order of magnitude scaled down. Seeing that mixed in with editorial stuff all over the place, starting to see it on peoples reels as the intro and outro all the time to where it almost looks generic already. But that's definitely... I think it's happening and it'll explode as soon as there's... It's just like glitch filter is, right? Like glitching and data-moshing used to be hard and it was like amazing when you saw it and then two or three years later all of the plugins started coming in. Now it's kind of like rote, we see it all the time.
Joey Korenman: Right. Yeah. It's funny like you calling those things out now I'm like, "Oh yeah, you do kind of see those everywhere." And the editorial thing, I actually really am glad to see that there's a lot more cutting, and this is actually one of the big lessons in Sander's class that came out last year, the whole idea of cutting on action. Which you know, as an editor that's like one of the first things you learn to do and then as an animator it's one of the last things you learn to do.
And so we've put out a couple of quick tutorials about how to do it. But this whole idea of something's moving from left to right and you cut to a completely different scene where something else is finishing, moving left to right, and it feels satisfying and I see that everywhere too, these editorial techniques finally making their way into mainstream motion design.
Sweet. All right, well, those are visual trends. I can't possibly imagine what will be hot in 2020 but we will find out. So now we're going to talk about some of the amazing work from 2019. There was a lot. Ryan, you had this awesome list that you put together of titles that you liked, which I thought was great. All right, so there's a few, we've already touched on a bunch. The Blend manifesto from Gunner that opened Blend this year was absolutely amazing, and amazing for a lot of reasons but just the way it looked was fresh. It had that Gunner look but there was this extra layer on top that it's, even to this day it's hard for me to explain what they did. It's just so cool. We'll link to it. If you haven't seen it, go watch that. That's amazing.
There was also the Webflow from Ordinary Folk was mentioned, Into the Flame from Hue and Cry, talked about the Project Bluebook opener from Noel Hoenig. I want to call out also, Gunner had a piece that was featured, I think on Motionographer that they did for Fender-
Ryan Summers: Oh, that was awesome. It was super fun.
Joey Korenman: ... Which was so good, just like another great piece.
All right, so now let's talk about the Apple event opener that Buck did, which I think was... It's funny, I think it was one of the freshest things that came out this year, by a lot, and as soon as I saw it I don't think they were allowed to say that they did it right away but I saw it the day it played and I said, "Yeah, Buck did that." It looks like straight out of the 60s basically, you know?
Ryan Summers: It felt like something from Sesame Street.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
Ryan Summers: Do you remember that Sesame Street always had all those animated-like moments?
Joey Korenman: Yeah, that's exactly what... It is just an ode to Saul Bass. But there's these moments where it looks like Saul Bass but then there's a little bit of 3D, just a little, not too much, not too much, and I don't know. The level of conceptual thinking and how they transitioned from one thing to the next and then all of the sudden you realize, "Oh I'm looking at that wave form that Siri makes when you talk to her." It was so clever and so well done and I think... Just when I'm like, "Listen, I've seen every cool trick Buck has," right?
Ryan Summers: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joey Korenman: "They don't have any more." Nope, they do. They got plenty more. So as far as like pieces that came out this year, that's probably my favorite one. And it's great because technically it was nothing fancy. It was just great design, a great idea.
Yeah. So I have a list here but I'm curious, like do you guys have a favorite piece this year?
Ryan Summers: Oh man, that's always so hard. I think technically, I mentioned earlier, I think technically it came out at the very end of last year but it was so... It was like December 14th or 16th so we didn't talk about it last one. I've got to say I love every time they do one, and you talked about James.
I loved the Into the Spider-Verse end titles. I thought they encapsulated everything about a movie that was so visually different from... How often... How many have there been? There've been three... How often do you ever get the seventh movie of a franchise being the most exciting version of that franchise. And then on top of that the title sequence for an already visually distinct thing is totally different than the visual style from the show itself and it's still super exciting. It blew my mind. I can't even imagine how much work it took to get that thing done in the time it took. But I love those guys, I love Lord and Miller, I love Alma Mater. It was like an all-star team of all stars working on it.
It was just super fun, super inventive. I think it's going to get copied a lot. That was probably my favorite if you just give it two extra weeks into last year.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, fair enough. What about you EJ?
EJ Hassenfratz: Well, just the film Spider-Verse I think. If anything it's getting more 2D artists into 3D and even that Klaus film on Netflix-
Joey Korenman: Oh yeah, holy smoke.
EJ Hassenfratz: ... Just insane good work. I know this is like not so much work but like shows, this is something I wanted to bring up before. Oh, what was it? Love, Death & Robots, the Netflix series-
Joey Korenman: Oh, yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: ... Produced by David Fincher, Tim Miller, all these different studios collaborated like Blur, even Sony Pictures Imageworks. Every single short film had their own little aesthetic look to it and I think one of the first ones I watched was the Three Robots one and I'm like, "Okay, cool." And then it just totally gets into NSFW kind of stuff and it's like, "Whoa." It's like Black Mirror for animation. It was just really insane.
One other collection of work that I really enjoyed was this effort of, going from the Love, Death & Robots, where it's like a collective of different studios. There's a whole collective and effort in this FRAMES FOR FUTURE, international collective of artists like Nerdo and Toast, even sound designers that we would know of like Wes, everyone worked on their own different sustainable development goal item from the UN. It was just such good work and I love seeing this work for a good cause and spreading awareness. You even have that sliding text. If you go to the website framesforfuture.tv you see all the different causes that they animate to like no poverty, zero hunger... But just the collection of so many amazing artists and I would love to see something like this more often in the future, where it's like, "Let's do our personal work but let's do it for some kind of benefit for something else other than likes on Instagram." I don't know.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. And if you go to that website, by the way, what's the first thing you see? You see variable width type. And there it is.
Ryan Summers: And stroke type and 12 frames a second.
Joey Korenman: Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: All those things.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, that is an amazing project.
All right, so there's a few other ones I'll call out and then I'm curious to see what you guys have on your list. I loved all the Microsoft stuff from Tendril this year, I know Nidia Dias was Art Director, or at least one of the art directors on it, and it's just kind of the thing that Tendril's known for. It's just super high-end 3D that is still grounded in good design, conceptual thinking. I just think, "God, they're such a good studio."
I also really liked this thing that Igor & Valentine... I&V let's call them that. Dave Stanfield, I love seeing them starting to hit their stride. They did this thing called Buster Williams with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, and it's this really quirky design style and quirky animation. Really different from a lot of the stuff that I've seen from them and really, really awesome.
EJ Hassenfratz: Oh wow, yeah.
Joey Korenman: They've, and I know that they're repped by Blacklist now, so I don't know if that job came through that opportunity, but they're starting to blow up a little and it's really good to see.
And then another thing, this caught me by surprise when it came out, I was floored, was the THX intro that Andrew Kramer directed because... And here's the thing. We all know Andrew Kramer is an amazing VFX artist, amazing After Effects artist. I had no idea though that he was capable of that. Like I know technically, he is. But just to direct that, I was floored. It's like watching a feature film-level sort of CG movie for 90 seconds, however long it lasts. It was incredible. I'm assuming it was all done in After Effects with native plugins too, true to his brand.
Probably not. But I don't know. It was so good. It's good, regardless of the fact that he made it and that's interesting and cool. I just thought it was really good. I was surprised because I always think of Andrew as like the guy who taught me After Effects, who makes plugins and he's worked... Like the stuff he did for the Star Trek titles for JJ Abrams was also amazing. But it's weird, I sort of compartmentalized that side of his talent, and here it is shoved in my face. Like, wow, he's just really, really good at too many things really.
EJ Hassenfratz: I didn't realize how well he knows Cinema 4D. Like he knows probably more than I do.
Ryan Summers: Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: It's incredible.
Joey Korenman: He's wicked smart.
Ryan Summers: "Wicked smart."
Joey Korenman: "Wicked smart, wicked smart."
Well. Sommers what other things did you enjoy this year?
Ryan Summers: Oh man. I put a bunch of title stuff. Is it cool to go through a couple titles?
Joey Korenman: Yeah. Well you have more than a couple titles, so why don't we see... EJ do you have any other things you really dug? And then Ryan can get into his wheelhouse.
EJ Hassenfratz: Let's see. Yeah, I agree on the THX intro. Some artists that, from Blend, First Club I think it was, they're doing a lot of really cool work. Basically, like Blend always has every one of their guests is like, "Yes, they're doing some really amazing work right now." So I think that's just like the greatest hits of that year.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. All right. Well Ryan, I know that you have kind of a thing for titles so you can... And actually I'd like you to start because you put a note in there asking, "Are title sequences feeling tired and worn out to you guys?" And I'm curious why you asked that question.
Ryan Summers: All you have to do is, and I'm going to pull them up real quick, but I was really disappointed this year with the Emmy nominees for title sequence. Like that's The Oscars, that's our big chance to see who's pulling out the big guns and what they're doing. And honestly, I've got to remember which ones. There were all like sequels or like kind of also brands of stuff we've already seen, and it was super disappointing.
I love the title sequence for Game of Thrones. It was beautiful work they basically redid it and updated it with all the new locations to the story. But the only one that I thought looked like new, and it wasn't even new and different, but at least surprised me was this one by a small group of people called Warrior. Let me see if I can find them.
But I don't know, do title sequences seem kind of like passing boring for the most part to you guys now?
Joey Korenman: Well, one thing that I'm kind of ashamed to admit is that I generally skip them.
Ryan Summers: That's part of the problem, yeah.
Joey Korenman: And I recognize that could be part of the problem. You know, my counter to that was this is not a show from 2019, it's older, but Ozark on Netflix has this very clever sort of thing they do in their title. And what I have noticed is a lot of shows now just making the title sequence like three seconds long [crosstalk 03:34:46] because they know that if it's longer it will be skipped and trying to play within that constraint. So I don't know. It's hard for me to say also because I don't have a ton of bandwidth to keep up with all the shows that I want to watch and so I sort of stick to the ones that I'm already sucked into, and I skip the titles. Nothing blew me away this year, I'll put it that way. Like when the True Detective titles came out and it was, "Oh my god," I watch it every single time I'd watch the show.
Ryan Summers: Speaking of True Detective, True Detective was on the list. True Detective Season Three. I found it, so the list was Conversations With a Killer, which wasn't really like a show people really saw, but it was beautiful but it doesn't feel like brand new. And it's on a show that not many people saw. Game of Thrones, which won. Star Trek Discovery, which Kyle Cooper worked on.
Joey Korenman: It was cool.
It was cool but it wasn't like, really out of the hundreds of shows and titles that we've seen like that. True Detective was in there, which good, well-made but also kind of like what we've seen before. And then the show Warrior which I thought was beautifully designed and had some nice, kind of color choices. But yeah, I kind of felt like when I started writing the list like, "Man, I don't know if there's been anything that's really excited me." But I did find some stuff that I thought was interesting, leading off with Into the Spider-Verse.
There's a new Apple TV show called The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and the very first shot I rolled my eyes because I'm like, "This feels just like what, I think Prologue did for X-Men First Class back in the day." Like the kind of circles and they're like DNA strands just kind of dancing. But about halfway through it does what we've been talking about. It goes from strictly 2D like top-down looking at stuff and it goes into 3D. And then the storytelling in it, I thought was actually a really good insight into what the show is.
Because for me, the conversation that bothers me all the time is, for the last few years, title sequences, because they've gone primarily 3D and photo real a lot of times, it really is just like a show off of technology. There's been a lot of title sequences that look beautiful for a moment but you never want to see them again. They don't comment on the show to set up the mood or the tone of the show, and they don't continue a conversation. That's what I thought was cool about Game of Thrones was that it was your guide to this big, expansive world and it would change as the show went on, which I thought was awesome. It accomplished what a title sequence should accomplish.
But I thought Morning Show did a really good job of kind of selling you like the tone, which is initially kind of like feels a little fun and uplifting, but it's not. It's not a shallow show, it's a deep show, and then it kind of told the story which is cool.
There's another show on Netflix called The Politician, and both of these are Elastic by the way... Interesting thing about Elastic and Patrick Clair not working there anymore, they're kind of reinventing what an Elastic show title means. But what I really liked about The Politician was that it does what I mentioned before. It sets up the story really nicely, and it really gives you an idea of who the main character is but it rewards repeat viewing in a way a lot of title sequences don't. Because as you learn more about this character and who you think is kind of good, or kind of almost a weakling, you start realizing that he's devious and he may even be a villain where you thought he was a hero. The show tite takes on new meaning as the show goes on, so I think that's cool.
You were mentioning how show title sequences are just turning into title cards. So if you think of something like Mr. Robot or Killing Eve, show titles, we don't have time to watch them, everybody skips them. So everyone's just reverting to really big text with like an ominous sound effect that just kind of echoes out over three seconds and goes away.
Climax is this completely cuckoo bananas movie, which I don't think it's for everybody, it's from a French director named Gasper Noe', he's done a bunch of crazy stuff. He did Into the Void-
Joey Korenman: Oh yeah, yep.
Ryan Summers: ... Into the Void had some of the best titles I've ever seen. The movie's weird, it's almost all improvised and the title sequence comes at almost exactly halfway through the film which is really bizarre. But what I loved about it was they're just title cards, but every single title card is a unique design with a different font and some of them actually have insights into the characters personalities which I thought was really interesting, beautifully designed and some really cool commentary on the show.
Another one that kind of reminded me of Half Rez, and I'm going to mess up the name of the studio but I think it's Moway, but it's M-O-W-E Studio. Really beautifully animated, super, super fun, tons of in-jokes for motion design but it's for Anymotion '19. It came out just a few weeks ago, but it's essentially almost like the end titles for Incredibles where all the characters are based on motion design tropes. Really, really fun for anybody who's a motion graphics animator and really well made from a studio that I've never heard of before, I have no idea what they've done in the past, if they're new or if they've been around for a while. But that kind of hit me.
And then two ones that I can't find good links for them so you'd have to actually go look at the shows. But Netflix has this awesome documentary series that just came back for another season called Abstract. Really cool, and the really interesting thing they do is they do a different title sequence and essentially kind of graphics package for each show based on the designer that the documentary episode is about. And I think the coolest one is, if you're a type nerd, everybody knows who Jonathan Hoefler is... It's a single designer who does every single sequence, every single episode, this guy Anthony Zazzi.
But the one for Hoefler, he's basically the master type designer of this generation. It uses all of his fonts to create this catalog of all of his work that he's done. The opening two or three minutes is really cool, you're walking through New York City with Jonathan as he sees fonts and it kind of has a Stranger than Fiction vibe to it. Then a minute or two into it, it cuts into the title sequence. Super fun, just an explosion of type animation but it kind of is this almost Hall of Fame for fonts and then just a history of where he came from.
And then, do you guys have Disney+? Have you... I think you said you've been watching Mandalorian, right?
Joey Korenman: Yes.
Ryan Summers: That was what I thought was going to be the best reason to get Disney+ but if you're sleeping on it, The Imagineering Story is, I think, even better than Mandalorian. It's a documentary about the people who make all the Disney theme parks. The cool thing about it, which I love when people take the time and money to do it, the documentary filmmaker that made it, they're short intros, they do follow the trope of just like a camera slowly moving around 3D as it builds up, but they're probably the most beautiful shots of all the major theme park rides that are talked about in that episode.
So The Imagineering Story, it's... I can't find out which studio actually did it because I can't find it anywhere online but it's either Gunslinger Digital or a company called SCANDI MOTION. They're listed as the graphics package and titles, but just really, really beautiful 3D and I thought it looked better than of the people that got nominated this year for Emmys. So that's my kind of quick run of title sequences.
Joey Korenman: Damn Ryan, I am glad you exist, man. That was amazing. Like I haven't seen... I'm trying to think, like aside from Into the Spider-Verse, I don't think I've seen any of those. So now I have a whole bunch of fun things to go watch. Again, everyone, if you're still listening, which is questionable, all of this will be in the show notes. This will be a very, very, very long show notes and with that, we come to our final section, boys. We're still here, and so are you.
EJ Hassenfratz: Hour Four is coming.
Joey Korenman: Yes.
Ryan Summers: Holy crap [crosstalk 03:42:00]. We are crossing the threshold. We've got six minutes. Six minutes to wrap this up.
EJ Hassenfratz: No let's breakthrough.
Joey Korenman: All right so why don't we do it this way? I will say a prediction, and you guys can comment if you want to, or you can say like, "No comment," and I have my list... I'm curious to see if you guys have any other ones. First of all, I feel pretty confident predicting this, I think that with the subscription model announcement this year, Cinema 4D adoption will explode in 2020, I just don't see any other way around it. What do you guys think about that?
EJ Hassenfratz: I think so too. I think there might be some big stuff on the horizon as far as Cinema 4D goes. I mean, we just got through year one of all the new shakeup as far as the management structure there and I think R21 was just a little drip as far as what's to come. I know UVs are going to be a thing, Redshift integration's going to be a thing. It's going to be interesting to see what happens next year. I think the heat is on and they're aware of it coming from Blender. I mean, Blender's becoming that real competitor and that's another prediction that I have if we want to go on into that one soon too.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, talk about that a little bit because it seems like there's already rumblings of that. But what do you think that might look like?
EJ Hassenfratz: I don't know. Again, it's this thing where Cinema 4D at MAXON has to deal with the fact that Blender's way they make money is through content creation, so how do you get creators creating content? You make it as widely accessible as possible by making that thing free. So that's something that Blender has up on Cinema 4D so I think, like Ryan hinted at before, the interface is just really difficult to get used to, it's a different way of working. There's a lot of things that you do have to buy as far as third-party, it's also marketability.
Like what studios, there's very few studios actually using Blender too, so that's a thing. Where do you go for support? But I think it's definitely going to drive the industry forward and I'm seeing a lot more people kind of looking at what's being released, and the Cinema 4D users looking at like, "Maybe I got to learn this." Just like people are starting to learn Houdini to do specific things that Cinema 4D can't handle. Maybe Blender's going to be that kind of thing, too. But one thing's for sure is that I think MAXON's really hoping that adoption explodes because I think, as far as new users go, they're losing a lot of potential customers to Blender.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. Well I think going subscription is going to definitely help that. You know, you raised a good point. There's no way to overcome the network effect that MAXON already has. Like every studio uses Cinema 4D, there's an army of freelancers out there, there's lots of companies and products that can teach it to you and Blender will get there eventually. But as far as like having Buck start hiring Blender artists, it's tough to imagine that, short of some major shakeup happening. It's not impossible but it's a huge hill to overcome. But I think for certain segments, I think that was a couple of words I threw in at the end. For certain segments I could see it being a competitor-
EJ Hassenfratz: Sure.
Joey Korenman: ... for motion design, maybe eventually. Like a real competitor that takes away sales. I think MAXON has a very healthy headstart is my gut.
EJ Hassenfratz: And even they had to fight really hard to get into universities because I think, from what I've seen... Visiting schools and going to these conferences, I talked to a lot of students that are in traditional schools and they say like, "Oh I learned Maya," even though they want to do motion graphics stuff just because of the fact that Maya's the only thing that they had in school-
Joey Korenman: Yeah, exactly.
EJ Hassenfratz: ... so that's what they learned. I think something would drastically need to change in the school system where I think Cinema 4D's been having to play catch-up as far as... Instead of 3D Studio Max or Maya, making those deals with these schools to get Cinema 4D in front of people and showing how easy it is.
Because even Blender, like Cinema 4D is the easiest way to learn 3D, by far. Until that changes, that's going to stay the same. Now again, that barrier is very low and I think it's very simple. The only thing they have to show is how easy it is to use 3D and yes, you have to pay a subscription price, but why have a harder barrier to entry than you need to? So until Blender starts being used all over universities, I think they got some ways to catch up for sure.
Ryan Summers: Yeah, I do think, and this is probably a little inside baseball, I do think we will see a handful, maybe one or two studios actually step out and proclaim that they've abandoned Cinema 4D in favor of Blender as a way to kind of like garner attention.
Joey Korenman: Interesting.
Ryan Summers: Not major studios, I'm not saying like a Buck or something like that, but I do think you'll see someone be like... Just to like, whether it's to attract Blender talent or to make a little bit of buzz to create some controversy to get eyes on their work. I do have this feeling that someone, somewhere is going to say, "Guess what? Screw MAXON, I'm not doing this anymore. I've got Blender, I've got Cycles, I've got EV, look what we did." And they're going to do that to try to make a splash with like a self-motivated project.
Joey Korenman: It'd be an interesting PR move.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, for sure.
Joey Korenman: All right. All right. So the next prediction is that more studios like IV will create products. So IV this year released Moonraker, which is a board game. It's beautifully designed and it had this amazing promo and it just sort of shows you like motion design is really a tool set more than one skill you have, and they've turned that into this really interesting studio. Also I wanted to... I should've said this earlier, but I want to give a shout out to Joe Russ, who is a motion designer turned game developer that finally [crosstalk 03:48:25] his game, Jenny LeClue. It took way longer than he wanted it to. I know that.
Ryan Summers: I hope it's doing really well for him. Because, I remember seeing it when it first launched and it was like, "This is what we need more of is more things like this."
Joey Korenman: Well I know like Apple has been using it-
Ryan Summers: Oh, that's awesome.
Joey Korenman: ... sort of like in their marketing materials. You know for like the Apple Arcade. So anyway, you know, I've been kind of predicting this for a while and it really hasn't caught on the way I thought it would but I think that it's inevitable that motion design studios, big and small, start productizing their talent, you know?
Ryan Summers: Yep.
Joey Korenman: And IV has kind of been ahead of the curve for a little while. I mean they also made a game, and there are things like, even Buck is sort of experimenting. They released a free app that was like an AR thing as kind of an experiment, so I think there has to be more-
Ryan Summers: Yes, yes. We need it.
Joey Korenman: ... of this coming down the pipe where... And I know Ryan, because you've talked about this before, the fact that what motion designers have yet to figure out is how to monetize their IP-
Ryan Summers: Yes.
Joey Korenman: ... in other... Yeah, and it feels like that's kind of what I don't know yet. You talk now. You say words.
Ryan Summers: I don't know what the answer is either. And honestly that's what I got... Camp Mograph was awesome, it was super supportive. There was a lot of return to craft, but on top of that there was a lot of divisive kind of debate about things. And that's what I, I didn't intend to, but that's when my kind of fireside chat really morphed into was this debate over, "Now I've got to figure out how to make stuff that's not like tutorials or texture packs too, on top of everything?" And I was like, "I'm not saying everybody has to do it, I'm just saying that I think there's this huge opportunity because our skillsets are used to make everything. Why are we making our own stuff?"
And it's not saying that everybody has to come out with a comic book or a video game, or a board game but like, why aren't there more? Every industry does this. There's an entrepreneurship native to every other creative field beyond just making classes and tutorials and texture packs that just... It happens automatically.
There was a lot of pushback. I don't know if you were in that fireside chat in that room, but there were people... Like legit people who are names for whatever that's worth in an industry like, "Why? Why do we have to? What would we do? How would we make money? Why would we even want to? I didn't get in the industry to do this. I just got in the industry to just work," and I was just like, "That's fine, but why squash it? Why try to say that this is not something people should be trying to do?"
So I'm... Joe, like Zack, the more I feel like people can start taking all of that talent that they use to create like show titles or a Gunner opening title that I told Billy from BoxFort, "Like there's no reason that-"
Ryan Summers: Title that I told Billy from Boxfort. There's no reason that the effort that you guys put into creating this world and this experience and these characters for the Half Rez titles should only live for two weeks until the next show title comes out. Right? They did all this amazing stuff, but then Blend came out and then everybody was barely talking about what they did. But if that was pitched and put into a document for a show or you create more YouTube episodes with that, like that becomes something that you own. That you can do something with that's exact same skillsets, exact same amount of time you used to make a product for someone that goes out in the world and then disappears.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. So EJ, I see you adding something, assuming that's you, adding something. And it's funny because I actually ran into him [at Max 00:04:12:30].
EJ Hassenfratz: Okay.
Joey Korenman: I was kind of blown away cause I didn't know about this. Yeah. Why don't you talk about what you're, what you're typing in.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. So I think it's just this, what are these alternate methods of revenue for artists. And I think, just what was it last ... I don't know if it was earlier this week or last week that a Beeple gave away or was selling is a, God [crosstalk 00:03:52:06]. Bootleg Star Wars might be illegal, but here buy it anyways. A Prince of a baby Yodas devouring a Jaba the Hut make you know, get that image in your head. Enjoy. But how can we, were already creating, but how can we monetize this?
There's Joey Camacho, he is Raw and Rendered on Instagram and on Twitter. He does a lot of amazing stuff. And something that I struggle with, I know a lot of artists struggle with is you make all this stuff you're making, you're creating for yourself, put stuff on Instagram and sometimes a brand wants to license that image. And I think a lot of people, it's a very new thing because people are just creating so much random content. So, basically what Joey's done is, he created this licensing platform for digital creators called avantform.com. And basically it's this very curated list of artists at this point, but you can sign up. It's this whole licensing system for all of these artists that kind of just create for their own people, like [inaudible 03:53:14] are on it. But basically you put all your work on here and they handle all the licensing for you.
So I think that's also a prediction. I think is you're going to have a lot more of these Instagram influencers as far as you know, creators. And they're going to be making money off their style, which they should be. Another thing, one of my other buddies, Brian Beam, he used to work at Rooster Teeth in Austin, Texas. He has this, he's trying to get a little thing set up called Gnosis. That is another way to develop products.
So he's doing this thing where there's some kind of app where you can actually scan it and it'll actually turn into this mixed reality AR kind of thing. Where you just like scan a tee shirt with your phone and all of a sudden the design on it comes alive and starts animating. So he's really trying to think of different ways to help artists monetize the work as well. You know, what was it 3D printing? Are you selling prints like Beeple is. I think a lot of people are just beginning to tap into this kind of thing and I think it's a great way to monetize and kind of free yourself up from only relying on client work as well. You know, are you selling project files? What are you doing?
Ryan Summers: Yeah, love when Joey was explaining AvantForm to me, I was like, that's genius. And you know, every, we're going to link to in the show notes you can go look. But I mean it's essentially like Shutterstock, but with really tastefully curated, designs and CG images and things like that. Which you know, you can get on Adobe Stock or Shutterstock and you can look for similar things, but that's kind of like a fire hose. And you're sifting through a lot of junk. And this is, I think that it's funny. Every sort of industry and vertical in that industry goes through this phase of it's new and then it becomes commoditized. And then the curators come in and that becomes the selling point is that this is curated now. You know? And I mean, frankly, that's kind of, that's kind of the promise we try to make is like, you can go on YouTube and you can find a million tutorials, but we sort of curate and I sort of got that ethos from Justin Cone, frankly.
I mean, that was his whole thing with Motionographer was like, there's so much stuff out there, but I'm going to curate it for you. So you don't have to go and dig. I will do that. And that's kind of what AvantForm is doing.
EJ Hassenfratz: That's really awesome.
Joey Korenman: Cool. All right, so another prediction was more and more designers moving to creating in the AR and real time space. And I think what we saw from Collin Lee in the work she did on the Gunner titles using Tilt Brush, or whatever that was, to paint details in VR to create the world. I mean, I think you're right EJ. It's like when everyone saw that they were like, "Oh my God, that's a thing! Okay, now I want to do that too." And so I think next year we're going to see more of that.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I think Adobe Aero, I've talked to so many people, it's been out for a month now and I, there's, you slowly seeing people post stuff on Instagram, here's my model in Cinema 4D, but hey look, it's on my desk now. Like check that out. I think it's just that aha moment of like, this is a thing. It's so easy to use. I think it's now it's just how are these brands going to catch up to monetize that and then therefore hire us. And I think it's great that the technology is advancing along faster than, well hopefully faster, than clients can figure out a way to hire us for it. So like when they approach us for, it's not like I don't know how to do that or I think I could do that. But I need to hire a developer and I was in that point earlier this year with a client that wanted to do the AR.
I was like, I can do the animation, I can rig this character, but I have no idea how to get out in AR. So I think that's going to be very exciting as far as you know, Unity Unreal. I think that's just being kind of thought about as far as being in a MoGraph workflow. I know you know Chad Ashley over at GSG, he's looking into it a lot. He started to learn it. I think once you start seeing some of the educators in our industry to start talking about stuff like this. Like my AR tutorial is going to be coming out next week. I think. Hopefully it kind of pushes the bounds and the more people create with it, the more you can advertise that to your client. And you know, maybe they'll, maybe they'll pick that up.
Ryan Summers: Yeah, I think we, we talked about a little bit earlier and you brought up Arrow and think Adobe is at this really interesting fulcrum point because I think they, they just kind of conceded that they were not going to be a player in the like 3D digital content creation. Like they just so many different little like you said, dimension trying to stick it in a Photoshop, three different ways of dealing with 3D and after effects and they just kind of, they missed the boat. But I think they get that real time as a boat they can't afford to miss. And it they're in this weird spot, right. So it's like they have Aero, which is like super entry level, just three buttons and it works. And then they bought Substance, which is like super pro in terms of the people that are going to use it and really understand what it is.
Like an average every day Photoshop user is never got to understand what do substance tools do, right? It's going to take a lot of work to get them up there. But the brain power behind that and then the beginnings of like an engine or some type of infrastructure, like arrow and then the hardware tool kind of like software from Oculus Medium. There's something being built. You can see a game plan happening and I don't know if it means that they build their own realtime engine. If there's an after effects type tool for real time that they're building but something's happening and I think it ... whatever it ends up being, I don't think it's a prediction for this year. But I think a prediction this time next year. There's going to be some type of Adobe app that stitches all of that type of work together. That's really user friendly but has the power to tap into the type of work that Substance and those developers reach for. It's coming.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah. I think if they can just figure ... cause again we're talking about Adobe Aero and it removes the coding involved in that whole process. The one barrier I think for Unity is you're still required to write some kind of script, some kind of code to get something working in. And as far as my brain works, the moment I have to do that kind of work, I feel, I don't feel happy working. I'm just like, I don't want to. I didn't sign up. I didn't go to art school and fine arts school to try to figure out what code I need do to trigger this animation. I want to be adjusting the Bezier curves.
So the moment, and that's the thing too is that I'm always going to step away from like AR until it's made accessible for dummies like me that just want to make art. And I think Adobe Aero is that thing for AR and I hope that Adobe is, like you said, working on something like Unity. Some real time kind of thing that removes all the code or makes it really easy. Uses some kind of node system that's really easy to use. I think that would be really killer. And really get a lot of momentum back to Adobe cause I think a Unity is kind of stealing some of that thunder because they're 2D and 3D in the same app and real 3D space.
Ryan Summers: Yeah, I mean I can't see them being comfortable with basically just conceding to the fact that they need to license cinema so that people stay in the Adobe ecosystem. They stay in, right? They have this tangential relationship with Maxon so that like we get a little version of it. So it's like please don't go to Autodesk if you want to do 3D. We have an option, we have a pathway. I can't see them being okay with that for the explosion of users that are going to eventually sometime come out of Realtime.
Joey Korenman: Interesting times, boys. All right. This next one, I don't know who put this in there, but it's very interesting actually. I'm not sure I agree with it, but the prediction is Plugin slash Script Promo animations being the new conference titles and the two examples are really interesting. [Swatch-a-roo 04:20:14] and Fast [inaudible 04:01:28] pro. Both have, especially [Swatch-a-roo that 00:04:20:14] .
The movie that sort of promotes that is absolutely ridiculous. Just it's beautiful. It's wonderful. Also in terms of the amount of work it took to sell a tool that I think is like, 20 bucks or something on [inaudible 04:01:46] .
Ryan Summers: Exactly.
Joey Korenman: And I'm not sure that I would go as far as whoever wrote this like that it will be the new conference title. But I will say, it's kind of genius that artists and animators maybe are recognizing huh, when you come out with a good tool, everybody in the industry talks about it and it gets a lot of play. And so it's not, it's really not a bad place to invest in time to make something cool. So, yeah, that's my thoughts.
Ryan Summers: I love the idea of it and I, I think the sentiment is great and I do think it's, it's pushed a lot by Lloyd. Like Lloyd obviously has an affinity for motion graphics animation. I mean, they just did the 100,000 Instagram followers celebration that the commission someone. But I do think we'd probably have to talk to Zach specifically about it but I can't imagine the economics of it unless there's some type of like REVShare really makes a lot of sense. Like that [Swatch-a-roo 04:20:14] promo is solid. Right? Like that wasn't something somebody threw together over a weekend. There was some dedicated man hours and time put into that.
Like you said at a $20 plugin, which I love. I actually really love [Swatch-a-roo 04:20:14] [crosstalk 04:02:59] but I can't imagine that you're still going to sell enough in the first three months to really pay for what that thing must've cost. So I think it's there but I mean show titles you normally don't get, I've done show titles, you don't even get paid most of the time for it. Maybe you get a ticket to the festival or you get like you know something, but it is a really good opportunity for people trying to create some exposure. But I hate that word.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yeah, I think that, cause I wrote that down. I think even conference titles like Gunner, I think they said lost money on it. [crosstalk 04:03:32] I think a lot of these, these types of areas where you can just freely do your own creative vision and don't have to be bogged down by what the client or what the brand guidelines are that they're going to pull back. I think we're seeing a lot more opportunities for artists to kind of spread their wings and fulfill their credit. Like the manifesto video, like some of the opening titles for some of the bootcamp classes at school emotion. You're seeing these studios and we give them free rein, like make something cool, like here's the story of the course and they blow us away. So I think that's definitely going to continue to be a thing.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, I think that's exactly what it is EJ. I don't know the exact story behind the [Swatch-a-roo 04:20:14] thing. Zach told me, and I forgot, and I don't want to get it wrong, but I do know that he essentially is friends with [Patrick Diaz 00:04:04:14] and said, "Hey, would you make something for it?" And I think the sentiment was, "Yeah, if you let me make whatever I want." And he's like, yeah, as long as it ... and that's kind of how we work with the people that do our intros. It's like as long as it references the fact that this is a class about cinema 4D, do whatever you want and then Animade goes and invents this whole universe and creates this amazing thing that. And I think that, Lloyd's very, very savvy to sort of realize too that is so appealing to studios and artists.
There's kind of like a knee jerk reaction to doing things for free or doing things for exposure. And the truth is when you know that [Swatch-a-roo 04:20:14] piece has been viewed over 4,000 times. I don't know how many after effects script promos can say that. And I don't know how many little short films that someone made just for fun can say that either. But it's like you combine these two things and now you're making a thing. It helps Zach. It helps Lloyd. Lloyd's going to promote it. Zach's going to promote it, Patrick's going to promote it and it kind of makes a lot of sense. And I think that it's a really smart thing that a lot of brands are going to eventually kind of catch on to that. Like there are times the ordinary folk piece, the Manifesto Video, we did have a budget for that and was in absolute terms, not even close to what it would've cost to hire them if we were Google and wanted that, it would have cost probably five or six times.
It was still like a pretty big budget. But when I brought it to Jorge, I felt a little guilty saying "Hey, can you do all of this? And, and here's what we have." But I also recognize that like this is a new studio and we told them just do your thing. And there was so little like tweaking and pushback at every point there because I recognized I want them to do their thing, I want to stay out of the way and I trust them. And I think a lot of brands realize if you can promise that artists actually in studios too are dying to work with you because that's not the way it typically goes down with client projects.
EJ Hassenfratz: Right? Yeah. But doesn't that say something where it's like you let artists just be an artist and do their thing and they're some of the best work ever. You know, you think that clients would pick up on that as like, you know what, we know you can kill it. Just do whatever you want. Just stay within these guidelines and we'll let you do your thing.
Ryan Summers: But isn't that, I mean I feel like that's almost everything with art, right? How many times have we seen that with film directors, right? You see a director and they do two or three films, they're like, Oh, he's okay. They do big budget things. They do big properties or franchises and then they go off and make their quirky, weird $5 million Indie film and all of a sudden are like word where was this director of the whole time? How out of I didn't realize that they're this great and this amazing and then they go off and they have a little bit more power control because of that exposure. I mean, I do wonder, I mean, I'd love to say that I had REVShare on Rubber Hose.
I do wonder if there's a world where three times a year you take on one of these jobs and it's not pro bono, you don't do it for free. But you say, you know what? Instead of paying me a couple thousand dollars I want 10% of every sale for the next five years.
Joey Korenman: Right.
Ryan Summers: If you're, if you, if you roll the dice did a Lonely Sandwich thing and you got Rubber Hose and Explode Shape Layers and your quiver of like 10% REVShare, that'd be some nice money showing up every once in a while. Right.
Joey Korenman: It's pretty interesting. Ah, it's, there's a lot of business models out there for stuff like this that haven't really been tested yet and that's, that's definitely one of them.
All right, we've got two more. So I think I wrote this one down and I don't know, I'm not sure how strong my conviction is towards it cause I feel like people have been saying this for a while. But what I wrote is I think we've seen the peak of the Flat Shapes Explainer look. It'll continue to evolve, but we'll see a return to the more graphic design slash cinematic looking stuff. I think some of this is just me hoping that that happens. I love, love, love and I mean I spent most of my career doing the Flat Shape Explainer thing and I have a lot of love for it. And I don't think it's ever going away. Ever. Because it is at least until someone figures out something simpler.
It is the fastest thing to produce as a motion designer. When you need to explain stuff, which is probably still half of the workout there. But I'm seeing lots more work bubble up looks like the stuff that was around when I got into this. When it was like there was mixing photography and texture with Vector with 3D things that aren't really 3D and then some things that 3D but don't look 3D and this collage look not having everything do beautiful smooth animation, have some stuff look like it was done in stop motion and mixing that and then doing using footage in interesting ways. You see little bits of it here and there. I mean there was a piece you and I talked about last year, Ryan, that Oddfellows did for Nike, which did not look like anything else that they had done. And I think that's going to start kind of being more popular.
One of the first guests that I'm interviewing next year is Adam Gault. And his partner, Ted, from Block and Tackle. And they're not known for the buck slick animation. Look right there. There are known for, you know the Eyeball stuff, right? The and by anyone who doesn't know Eyeball was a studio, I think they're still around. But like DK, they sort of, their heyday was a long time ago. And I just, I feel like for some reason I feel like that's coming back and I am thrilled.
Ryan Summers: I mean it comes down to how much air is left design-wise versus how much money you can make doing it. Right. How much more design exploration can there be in that flat shape world that you can still execute with the time that the money affords you. I don't think there's much more, like you said, it can't get much simpler than a lot of that look, but I don't think it's going to stop.
It's just kind of like it's crusted what you can do with it at this point.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. And I would love your take on this yet. Cause I remember at the very first Blend Justin Cone spoke and he gave this talk that was like predictions about the motion design industry. And this was four or five years ago and he predicted the same thing I just predicted but he went on to say that he thinks that it will be sort of replaced or at least augmented by a 3D version of that. Which, I talked about that trend of like the Grayscale Gorilla Texture Pack look. That's what that is to me. We need a visual metaphor that simple. Well, we've got, an HDR pack so we don't have to really spend too much time lighting. We've got a texture pack and we've got spheres and cylinders and we can make the metal and wood and have this kind of, I don't know, like paint splatter texture and it's the same thing. It's just in 3D now.
EJ Hassenfratz: I think what happened to the Flat Sheep's Explainer look is you, it almost got [inaudible 00:20:23]. Where the budget's for it ... everyone and their grandmother wanted a Flat Sheep's Explainer video. You want to, you want an explainer video for your wedding, you need to explain it. You just need it for everything, for no reason whatsoever. And it's like, I'll pay you 20 bucks for it. And I think that's why you're seeing people just move away from that just because ... I mean its people are for four minute long explainers and their budget's $2,000. I mean, that's not the work that you want to continue to be doing and showing on your reel. So I think that's why you're seeing the evolution of that, where okay, maybe you have some elements of these explainer videos, but maybe there's 3D involved or maybe there's self animation involved.
And I think that's why you see this throw back to just this hand drawn feel. Like these cell animation type of looks for these animations now. Because I think it's, we're almost like rebelling away from that kind of thing. Just to have a little bit more personal touch. Cause I feel like those explainer videos just had no soul.
Ryan Summers: Oh yeah. Yeah. Same, same three scores, same camera move, same voiceover, same scripts. Like everything was
EJ Hassenfratz: Ukulele sounds. Yep.
Joey Korenman: Yep. Meet EJ. Well, the final prediction here, and this is really like a softball. This is like cheating almost, but I thought this would be a nice one to end on. So, I think for sure motion design will continue to grow like crazy. And it's interesting because I've been traveling a lot this year and talking to a lot of people and talking to students. And there's this fear among artists of a certain age and people who have been in the industry for a while. There's this fear that we're going to eventually experience what like lawyers are experiencing, right? Where it's like everything is so accessible and there's law schools everywhere. And there's like you everyone can go to law school and be a lawyer and make money. And then there's like way too many lawyers and no one can get a job. And people are worried that because it's so much easier now to get into this.
It's easier to learn. The tools are more affordable. That there's going to be too many motion designers. And from where I sit it's still, there's not even close to enough motion designers. It's like there's a huge supply and demand problem here. Yeah, the supply side is short. And so I thought this was a really interesting data point. So Dribble does this global design survey every year. And if you go to it, we'll link to it in the show notes, but if you go to Dribble you'll find it. And the first slide is what's most important to designers within their career? Or, sorry, maybe it's a couple of slides down. Which skills do designers want to learn? Second slide. And the number one skill they want to learn is motion design. I thought that was fascinating.
EJ Hassenfratz: Mind blowing.
Joey Korenman: Yeah, and it was 33% said that. 30% said business. So motion design, beat out business as the skill of designers want to learn. Now that's, that's crazy. They think about that and this is not people listening to this podcast, most likely. This is not artists that are on Motionographer or on MoGraph Twitter yet, but somehow they're recognizing this is the next frontier.
Ryan Summers: Yeah. I mean, we've talked about this before and I think I talked camp MoGraph and I as bluntly as I can probably ever actually say it. The people who are saying that the people who are dooms daying are either one of two people. They're trying to sell you something to play on your fears. Or they're people who need to look at their demo reel and just get better? I hate having to be that blunt and say it, but that's, where we're at. If you are not, if you are struggling to find work right now, you're either not in the right geographic space. Your skill set isn't matching the people you know and you need to increase your network or you need to get better.
Joey Korenman: You're a jerk. [crosstalk 04:15:14]
Ryan Summers: Oh yeah. Or you're just negative for negative sake and you're hoping it was the way it was 10 years ago when there weren't as many people doing it. But we're, we're, we're not. I can't stress to people enough the major cities that this work happens in, can't find enough people.
People are willing to hire someone remote to go staff and they don't care where you live to pay a premium. Tech companies are starting their own motion design departments stealing the best people away, leaving those seats open in the best studios in the world. You can start your own company and find direct contact to brands. There are more screens coming in the next three years that don't even exist right now. That kind of doomsday mentality. Like I don't even want to hear it anymore. There's so many ways to take like that concern and do something with it.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. I'd give a talk at Max this year all about getting into the motion design industry and prepping for that. I looked through our student database to see how many different companies people have reported that they worked for. And this is just School of Motion alumni. Like people who come to School of Motion and have an account on our site. There's tens of thousands, there might be 100,000 but it's enormous number. But just looking at our alumni are somewhere North of 5,000 alumni. Three, more than 3000 companies. Unique companies were listed. Companies you would never think have motion designers. We just got a great piece of ... sort of, "Hey guys, love the class. Thanks for doing this," from a motion designer at Boeing, right? You wouldn't think of Boeing as a company that needs of that. Every company has motion designers now.
Ryan Summers: Here, here in Chicago, I lost one of my best freelancers. I was trying to make staff because he was taking a creative director position at a new motion design team inside Allstate.
Joey Korenman: See what I'm saying? I have one of my good buddies, he works for Liberty Mutual, the insurance company. And they have video editors and a motion designer. I mean everybody, it's literally everybody and everybody's finding the same problem that ... it to find someone that knows after effects, not that hard. To find someone that knows after effects and can design an animate, really fricking hard. Really, really hard.
EJ Hassenfratz: Think you got you Joey when you were on the MoGraph podcast with Chris Do and Ryan. [crosstalk 04:17:43] I think that conversation you guys had just hit the nail on the head where ... not a lot of people realize people, companies don't have to do these ad buys to be on broadcast TV anymore. There's so many more areas of marketing on Instagram and so that's money that they can spend on advertising and hiring animators to tell their story in a unique way. In an eye catching way. So I think a lot of people aren't realizing that. Everyone has a screen in their pocket right now that you can advertise to.
Ryan Summers: Yeah, exactly and that's what most companies not realizing that they need to become content companies. Right? Like I know that's kind of in the air and that's like a REVThink, podcast kind of philosophy.
Joey Korenman: It's very, very Gary [Vaynerchuk 04:18:29] ,
Ryan Summers: but it's very true, right? If you're like I just did this giant job for Canada Goose. If you're one of eight companies making essentially very similar products, if only one of those companies is making content and they're hiring influencers and they're doing vlogs and they're doing storytelling and they're creating mini movies and they're doing in house for their actual employees. That company is going to be at a huge competitive advantage until everybody else also has the same team doing that. That's a wave of jobs that are coming because the companies haven't even learned that lesson yet.
Joey Korenman: Yeah. I mean, I remember finding out that one of our alumni was in house at CNN working on their Snapchat team. That's when I realized, so you know the ... and, no one and that's the stuff. It's very hard to feature that stuff and talk about how great it is and how creative I know, like Giant Ant is doing Instagram story animations and stuff. I mean there's so much of this out there that unfortunately isn't as easy to kind of turn into a Vimeo staff pick or an award but is still creative work that needs to get done. And there's infinity of it out there.
EJ Hassenfratz: And remember what [Handel said 00:28:46], we don't need awards.
Joey Korenman: We don't need awards boys. I think that's the end of this conversation. Thank you both for ... and only one pee break. I should mention for everyone listening that's kind. [crosstalk 04:19:57] And if you are just waiting so we have, you are listening. Thank you. [crosstalk 04:20:03] Awesome. Well Ryan, EJ thank you both. And a Happy New Year.
Ryan Summers: Happy New Year. Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz: Yes. Thank you.
Joey Korenman: Whew. There's not much more to say other than thank you. This podcast started kind of as a lark and it's grown into something far bigger than I ever would have imagined, which is also in a way, the story of School of Motion. I have to thank Ryan and EJ for being a part of the team and for aiming their formidable talents and passion at the goal of making it possible for anyone to learn motion design. I really hope 2019 was a banner year for you, and here's to an amazing 2020.